Since it’s the holidays and my eyes have been plastered to the flatscreen, my ocular orbs have absorbed the nearly non-stop advertisements for the Tom Cruise as Nice Nazi film. So, Maverick dons an eyepatch for his role as would-be Hitler assassin, which seems to fit in well with the rest of his military garb and doesn’t come off at all pirate-like. Which is a bit of a disappointment, since wouldn’t a Nazi flick need a little lightening up with a touch of swashbuckling?
Once when I was a young tot, just barely a seedling of six years old, my father bought me an eyepatch at a local drug store. I doubt you could hit up a Duane Reade today for an eyepatch, since it seems to have lost favor to the glass eye. On a recent trip to London, I attended a dinner party where someone did indeed have a glass eye. He was quite the gentleman, not that having a glass eye would instantly scrub away one’s manners, but if one were a creep, having only one eye would definitely contribute to a good nickname. Pervy McOneEye, say, or The Sly Cyclops.
At this dinner party, I was seated next to One-Eyed John, as he apparently was known among friends behind his back. (The English take kindly to physical impediments by cementing it to your name.) We chatted and, as I struggled to maintain focus on his good eye, he described life on the high seas. Yes. He captained yachts for long-haul sailing competitions in which tiny boats sail from New Zealand to the South Coast of England or some other completely daft distance. So, in some essence, John had all the trappings of a modern-day pirate including a salty sense of humor.
After a bottle of rum and our collective dancing on a dead man’s chest, the party took a decidedly boozy turn. My new friend John popped out his eye. It wasn’t menacing at all – more an oddball gaff, as though we might now start playing a game of flip cup with it. Which is it say that perhaps eyepatches have been put out of favor, since they are creepy, like a little manhole cover for a look-see into a skull.
According to legend, there was once a commander in the British Army who wore an eyepatch because it made his men serve him better. I can understand how this might make him appear brave and threatening, but wouldn’t you want a leader with depth perception? Perhaps this is what ultimately dooms Tom Cruise’s attempt to exterminate Hitler.