I’m a Low Class Underachiever

I have had to take N to the optometrist today. I have turned into one of those wives who have to drag husbands to the doctors’ because the husbands were brought up to believe their health doesn’t matter and wouldn’t see a medical professional even if they are bleeding on the sidewalk. (Parents of boys, please do something about this because convincing adult men that if they wriggle in pain it might make sense to see a doctor gets very daunting. And don’t even get me started on the story of a man I know who suffered a stroke yet concealed the symptoms for a week to avoid looking like a cry-baby.)

The optometrist discovered that N’s vision had slightly deteriorated in the past 3 years.

“You must be a very smart person,” the doctor declared brightly. “Near-sightedness is an illness of people from higher social classes, the overachievers, ones who always read, learn, and try to make themselves better.”

With my perfect vision, I immediately felt like a low-class underachiever who wouldn’t know a book from her elbow.

People love identities so much that they can construct one out of anything.

14 thoughts on “I’m a Low Class Underachiever”

  1. As a male who rarely goes to physicians, I am not inclined to always trust their judgement anyway. Seeking medical attention is a last resort. Else one is likely to be prescribed drugs that one does not need, or be urged to have unnecessary surgery, etc.


    1. Believe me, I’m very opposed to excessive medicalization of our lives, too. But N. had blood literally pouring down his nose. Surely, when your eyeglass frames make you bleed, it’s a good idea to see a doctor.


    1. It isn’t a stereotype. My father had a stroke and refused to see a doctor for a week. Obviously, that did not improve his condition. And this has been the story of his life. I asked him shy and he said he was brought up to believe that it is wrong to bother people. Instead, he is supposed to be strong and tolerate the pain. Why do you think men in developed countries have a shorter life span than women?


  2. I avoid the doctors, authoritarian bastards. I always have tried to avoid medical professionals since a school nurse in Zimbabwe tried to diagnose me as a hemophiliac because I acquired more bruises on my shins than perhaps I had ought to. This was down to clumsiness (hitting myself with the bike pedals every time I mounted) and thin skin. I may also have had a mineral deficiency — my father was found to be low in Vitamin K. Also, the school nurses kept testing my vision, which was found to be less than perfect, and which I didn’t want to be so, since in that kind of conservative society it meant you were defective. I have an emotional aversion to seeing medical personal, therefore.

    But I also now have a more philosophical reluctance, which is based on an understanding that a healthy attitude has always improved my health much more quickly and more superbly than pills do, in most cases. So, I prefer to wait it out and see if my body can resolve any difficulties, rather than rush to get assistance. This is the case even with more extreme problems like the dislocation of a ligament in my knees. If the elastic band that keeps the knee together on the outside gets pushed out of place, you can’t walk. This has happened to me through accidents in martial arts training. I had to hobble around for two days, with my husband supporting me when I had to hop to the toilet and back. Then on the second night, I was just sitting on the bed, when I felt a twang in my knee and the ligament has slipped back into place again. I guess it just needed the swelling to go down sufficiently.

    So, yes, I avoid doctors unless it’s for something really weird and annoying, like wax in my ears, which I can’t get out.


  3. Perhaps the optometrist was trying to make N feel better about needing glasses.

    What a silly logical fallacy. I’ve been nearsighted since the first grade. I can barely wear contacts. Obviously if my vision deteriorates even more, I shall become a genius! :p That would just annoy me to no end since I can’t see myself in the shower, am petrified to go swimming by myself and have to carry my glasses whenever I wear my contacts. I would LOVE to get something like Lasix.


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