Don’t Put Painful Things in Your Eyes

This morning I got toothpaste in my eye. It was a crazy freak accident– I just flipped open the toothpaste lid at waist level, a little drop shot upward, and then suddenly my eye was a mentholated bonfire. I calculate the odds of a tiny drop of toothpaste flipping out of the tube and into my open eye at around 1 in 10,950, 10950 being the number of days I have brushed my teeth without that having ever happened. Still, when your eye is on fire with Aquafresh in the wee hours of the morning with the rest of the family asleep, you don’t calculate the odds. You scream into a hand towel and pray for death.

eye pain

Besides, the odds don’t matter in my case. That’s because this is a problem for me. ‘This’ being getting really painful things in my eye. It’s one of the Dumb Things I don’t not do, I guess. About six months ago, I was in the office of one my colleagues at work. He has a cactus there, and that’s obviously the thing a person is going to start playing with when he’s trapped in that office during long conference calls. People who just sit in a chair and listen during conference calls may not know this, but when you poke a cactus with a straightened paper clip, it bleeds this thick milky white sticky stuff, pretty profusely. After seeing that a few times, it’s honestly pretty hard to resist poking the cactus, just to watch it bleed.

Turns out one of those times I got the cactus blood on one of my fingers. A few minutes after that, back in my office, I rubbed my eye with that finger, and then I had to check to see if my finger had lemon-juice razors on it. Because my eye was screeeeeeaming in the most awful pain I had ever experienced. I rushed to the bathroom to flush water into it. In the nexst 20 minutes I returned to the bathroom two more times. But cactus blood is non-water soluble, and is made out of wasabe and bee stingers. My eye had turned into a fountain of pus and tears, and I was honestly wondering if the pain would ever stop, and what I’d look like with a glass eye. When I saw Macy an hour later, the pain was just barely subsiding. She looked at me sympathetically and asked me why I had been crying. I told her it’s because I had been attacked by poisonous cactus milk, and then she stopped being so sympathetic, which just added to the pain. It was a very, very unpleasant episode.


But it didn’t end there. A few months after that we were sitting around my mom’s dining room table after a funeral, chatting. I was playing with a bouquet someone had sent over, which was cool because it had a few little clusters of real peppers in it. I broke open a few to smell them, and instantly began to feel a burning sensation around my nostrils, though it wasn’t horrible. The sensation reminded me of my run-in with the cactus juice, so I began to tell the family about that experience. As I touched my eye to demonstrate where I had put the cactus juice, a burning streak of pain shot throughout my whole eye, spreading pepper juice all over that poor beleaguered eyeball.

So there I was, in the middle of my story about how awful the cactus juice had felt, only to find myself in perfect position to demonstrate in real time exactly what I had gone through. I think the audience was very appreciative of that level of commitment to story telling. But it stung like the dickens. Davis and Christian kept telling me to put milk in it for some reason. That sounded awful to me, mostly because the last milk I had put in my eye had been from a cactus, but also because the only milk in my mom’s house is powdered. (People who have learned to be wary of what substances they put in their eye just have a natural aversion to putting powdered milk in their eye. I don’t know, just sort of a sixth sense maybe.) Left without any good options, I just sat down again, to wait out the pain, again.

So this morning’s toothpaste event was only my third chemically-induced-ocular-agony accident in the last six months. Tomorrow I will re-set the little ‘_X_ consecutive days without a chemically-induced-ocular-agony accident’ sign in my bathroom. This time, though, I’m really going to get it to 100.

I’ve had that sign for a little while now. Since July 24, 2007, to be precise. That’s the date when this video was taken.

Ryan mentos explosion from Eliza Thompson on Vimeo.

(That was black cherry Shasta you just saw being propelled into my eye with the force of ten giga-mentos. And it was carbonated. I still see the world through the taste of black cherry Shasta. EVERY DAY.)

Never forget.

This entry was posted in Dumb Things, Pain, Stories. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Don’t Put Painful Things in Your Eyes

  1. Davis says:

    The best part is watching you stumble around while everyone else exults in the joy of the moment.

  2. Rebecca says:

    that was lol hilarious. a true DDDT moment. well, moments, actually. i love the “mentholated bonfire,” glass eye fear, and macy no longer feeling sympathetic (i can relate). loved it.

  3. Eliza says:

    holy crap that is unbelievable how many times that has happened to you lately. unbelievable and dang funny. Something in the eye is probably one of the most annoyingly awful pains, just water from the shower is enough to render me totally helpless and flailing around til I get them dry and not stinging anymore. anyway, good stuff, I’m glad we could all benefit from your pain. ; )

  4. Andrea W. says:

    This is seriously kind of amazing how many run ins your poor eyes have had. While I am really sympathetic, I totally lost control when I read about your pepper in the eye while demonstrating the cactus. That is hilarious!

  5. Ryan says:

    Yeah, most of my sympathy these days comes with laughter. I’m sort of used to it.

  6. Molly P says:

    I would love to be your secretary…or just to meet her one day. I can’t even imagine the crazy things she sees you do on a daily basis. Are you the Michael Scott or the dwight or the kevin of the office…I haven’t decided!

  7. Katherine (Foulger) Lewis says:

    I’m with Davis…the best/saddest part is seeing you immediately dash for help and no one having a clue what has happened. So sad yet so funny. Good work for getting in on video, but I was left wanting about 20-30 seconds more. I kept replaying it hoping to see a little more each time. At least you’ve only had run-ins with nasty liquids. Watch out for pointy, sharp objects. I took a CPR class yesterday and saw a guy with a piece of glass stuck in his eye…it could always be worse.

  8. Josh says:

    Oh Ryan, I can’t stop laughing. I feel your pain. I’ve scratched my cornea 1 1/2 times. Thanks for a good laugh.

  9. Christian says:

    You do realize that all this toxins you’ve put in your eyes will cause you to go blind years earlier than you naturally would, right? Kind of funny, but kind of sad too.

  10. Greg says:

    Awesome post, Ryan. So sorry that you have such material to write about. I love the part about posting a new ___ days without an ocular accident.

  11. Braden says:

    wasabe and bee stingers–wonderfully evocative writing. Hillarious.
    Josh, 1 1/2 times?

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