Thursday, January 5, 2012

The First Eye

This weekend the winds of strange blew me southwest to southern California and Mexico. My friend Dan and I decided sort of last minute to roadtrip our way to the land of tortillas (I'm really not kidding that freshly made tortillas in Mexico was responsible for about 82% of my decision to go). We left Thursday afternoon after a mad attempt to get my affairs in order.

The drive through southern Utah is one often full of great anxiety for me, mostly because of a creature my older sisters created in the late '80s to haunt and terrorize my childhood. Dear strangers, meet The First Eye.

The First Eye (TFE) is a mysterious creature whose exact purpose has never been fully explained to me. His entire anatomy consists of one giant eyeball, surrounded by 1,000 toes in a line all the way around his perimeter. That's it. No mouth. No nose. No ears. Just an eyeball with exactly 1,000 toes. As my sisters were incredibly vague about The First Eye's daily activities, hobbies, interests, etc., I assumed from ages 4 to 13 (yes, 13), that The First Eye existed solely to terrorize children. Much of this morbid assumption of traumatic motives had to do with Bob subjecting me to made-for-tv Stephen King's "IT" at age six because "it's a movie about clowns!" (Thanks to Bob I have kept a machete and rosary next to my bed and haven't slept for more than 30 minutes at a time since 1989).

The reason I associate driving through southern Utah with The First Eye is because I was first informed of its confusing existence on a drive to visit my grandparents in southern California. On said drive, my straight-faced sister Krisanda matter-of-factly drew a picture of the creature and informed me that it lived in all the caves on Earth simultaneously. For this reason, she lovingly continued, I should keep my eyes peeled as we made our way through cave territory in the Utah and Nevada deserts. She also explained to me every single fact I know about it other than its simplistic anatomy and omnipotent whereabouts:

1. The First Eye is always angry because he is always hungry as he has no mouth with which to eat.

2. The First Eye is a man.

3. The First Eye is sometimes huge and sometimes small, depending on the size of the cave in which he is dwelling. But he is always large enough to sport 1,000 toes.

4. The First Eye is always watching. I assume this is because The First Eye does not have an eyelid.

5. The First Eye has no family or friends.

6. My sisters apparently had the remarkable ability to communicate with The First Eye as they were always relaying messages from him to me.

7. The First Eye's messages to me were always very bizarrely thought provoking, yet eerily simple.

8. The First Eye is incapable of love.

9. To move around, the first eye rolls on his toes, apparently with impeccable balance.

10. All The First Eye wants in life is the ability to wear shoes. Something he will never experience.

As Dan and I made our way south, I felt each hole in the red rock staring at me until we finally rolled into a dark Nevada and continued our journey westward. Sometime during our lonely drive through the Nevada deserts we both saw something that I'm not totally sure is wholly unrelated to The First Eye, but that nonetheless took my mind completely off of him. A UFO. Yes. I'm not kidding about this. A green light high in the dark and overcast evening sky darted from horizon to horizon in two seconds and disappeared into the distance. When telling this story to others later, Dan and I both corroborated one another's recollections very effectively and energetically, finishing each other's sentences and nodding supportively and emphatically while the other one spoke. This continued rapidly for several minutes until, after finishing the story and waiting for the stunned reactions of our audience, Dan backtracked, informing the crowd in a suddenly skeptical and mocking voice, as if I was the sole crazy one and he was on their side all along, "well . . . I don't recall the light being green." When I defended myself, Dan patronizingly responded in that voice, "ok Eli. Whatever you say." while quickly making eye contact with the others. I should point out that Dan was the one who demanded we share the story in the first place before changing his tune after seeing the unimpressed eyes of our listeners. I suspect he did this in an attempt to make friends. But ironically, in that moment, he nearly lost one. Not cool, Dan. Not cool.

After visiting friends in southern California for a couple of days, my wonderful co-worker who happened to be in San Diego as well gave us a quick ride and dumped us at the border to meet my uncle and our good friend Andrea who were eagerly awaiting us on the other side, having gotten a 4 day head-start on tortilla mastication. The two days in Rosarito and La Mision were full of voice-losing karaoke, visits with sweet friends of my uncle, 10,000 tortillas, and fog. Lots and lots of fog. Unfortunately one thing that did not happen during this time was exercise. This is particularly unfortunate for my swimming lack-of-abilities as I need to learn how to swim before my quickly approaching May 5th race. After four months of regular practice, I'm sad to say that I've gone from "panicked drowning" to "calmed drowning" but I don't seem to be working my way toward "moving forward while in water." Add swimming to the list of things I'm self-conscious about. The very long list.

No The First Eye sightings on the way home, although I suspect he's gotten very good over the years at blending into his surroundings. Well, as much as a giant eyeball with 1,000 toes is able to blend into his surroundings.

~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. The First Eye "got" you! Just this time, it got you via Dan and its sighting. Now you know The First Eye is not a monster, but an alien creature.

    Also, my son snuck downstairs when he was four and watched "It" because "it had a clown in it." He also was traumatized and remains terrified of both clowns and sewer grates.

    Fun blog post, as always.

  2. Maybe the UFO was one of those super powerful laser pointers. You know, the kind that will instantly blind you and burn a hole through your eye if you look into it.

  3. Are they all big toes, or are they all different?

  4. I'm pretty sure The First Eye has RAD. 'Nuf said.

  5. First of all.... The First Eye does in fact exsist. I spoke with him just the other day - he was rolling around in Fillmore.

    I am still freaked out by "IT" too and wonder why Dad thought it was okay for us to watch it as kids! I think I slept with the hall light on for atleast 2 years after!!!

  6. I'm thinking your sisters ripped Tolkien's Eye of Sauron? Though, you've got to give them points for creativity by adding in the the toes and stuff.

    IT gave me nightmares for ages. Who am I kidding? It still does.

  7. Ian, they are all big toes. I hear it takes the entire month of March to clip his nails.

  8. Ha Ha, The First Eye that was such a funny story, I love it. The First Eye would make such a great short film, seriously. You could have two kids playing you and your sister and then as she describes the The First Eye, there could be simple animated drawings of The First Eye as she describes it. Awesome story, seriously.

  9. This is exactly the kind of mega lie I would have gleefully invented and told to my brothers. I don't know that I could have kept them going until 13, though. Your sisters are good.

  10. haha the First Eye story is so funny. Also, your UFO story sounds similar to that Fire in the Sky movie.. except the UFO didn't come down to the ground and snatch one of you up for experiments. Ok so the only similar thing is that a UFO was involved, and only for 2 seconds in your case. Also, I love how much world traveling you've done (especially all the last minute trips) in the last 5 years. So jealous!

  11. The First Eye is totally there. My brother's best friend's cousin's sister's brother-in-law saw him once.

  12. I don't normally post on strangers' blogs, but since we are separated by only one degree of acquaintance, I feel it would be OK. Plus, I was actually at your law convocation and heard you speak, though I was there to support my sister-in-law. Anywho. First of all, I had a substitute teacher show us that blasted movie while in middle school. I too hate sewer grates like one of your other commentators. Second, my dad and his brother saw a UFO once when he was in high school. He lived in Parowan, not too far from NV. having said that, they also used to drink...stuff. So you know... maybe they did and maybe they didn't. Third, the toe eye thingy is kinda creepy, but the fact you feared it until you were 13 shows the powers of persuasion your sisters had; too funny.

  13. My sister and I convinced our younger brother that bazar was in fact one of the worst swear words ever. He was 6. It wasn't till he was 12/13 and we were driving as a family that we turned to him and said "remember when we convinced you bazar was a swear word?" he replied "it's not?" needless to say he was super mad at us and we got in a lot of trouble. You have to love older sisters.

  14. He's probably most likely to be spotted right after he clips his toenails. The poor guy can't even wear shoes, so when sandal season comes around that's his time to truly shine among others and their measly 10 toes of different sizes. Why else would he have his toenails clipped in March right as weather is changing? Sounds like he might have a sensitive/misunderstood side to him as well. Maybe plan your next (spontaneous) road trip for April/May.

  15. I'm so glad Kirst and I weren't the only sisters to terrorize our younger brother while we were growing up.

    I also love that your friend totally bailed on the UFO sighting and left you hanging as soon as he realized the story wasn't getting the response you'd both hoped for-- hilarious!

  16. Insightful, very insightful indeed. Though I definitely feel that the First Eye might have been unjustly judged.
    From the artists rendering I can see that the look in its eye communicates nothing but a longing for understanding and fulfillment in life.
    And hunger. A burning hunger.

  17. Is it purely coincidence that mere days after first reading this post I was perusing the Redbox at my local Walmart and came across a movie called "Killer Eye"?? I think not!

  18. Don't you think it is a bit ironic that your tortilla-fest and your Ironman go hand-in-hand? It is Cinco de Mayo after all.

    Your sister kindly suggested (at lunch the other day) that it would be best if your family staged an intervention to stop you before you drown in a lake.

    You do know that lakes are for fish to swim in, right? And you don't have gills.

    Happy Swimming!

    P.S. The "up-and-over" on the bicycling portion of the Ironman passes many many caves. I would watch my back if I were you. ;)

  19. Frankly, the TFE looks like a doodle Daniel may have made during a slow spell at his work... just saying

    1. Be careful with such statments "I am Just One Mom", TFE doesn't take kindly to mockery. If you aren't careful, TFE might see to it that you have to change your online name to "I am Just One Former Mom"....

  20. I believe you Eli.. I believe you. I've seen UFO's... I understand what you've gone through. Don't worry buddy, I won't let people make fun of you anymore.. We know the truth. *Determined Face*

  21. I live in Southern Utah so my "freak out little brother" object couldn't be down here... Instead, it was the Burger King in Nephi where we always stopped for lunch on our way to see family in SLC. Anyway, the Martians were using BK as their gateway to earth and they were known to snatch up kids who wandered away from their parents (I was trying to help out!). That little brother of mine is now 30 and still has to text or call every time he drives through Nephi to let me know "the Martians are watching"...

  22. My dad convinced me to watch "IT" with the same argument. Also, other movies he convinced me to watch as a small child (under the age of 8) "Chuckie" because it is about a doll that comes to life, "The Shining" because it is about a family living in a hotel and there is snow (I lived in San Diego, so snow was a foreign concept to me), and "Pet Sematary"--the movie about animals.
    20 years later, I still limit our movie-watching together to Harry Potter and G or PG-rated films.