A new school year will soon be upon us and bring with it all the anxieties that only school can bring. One anxiety which will likely bring the most stress for students will be the exams they will encounter over the next nine months. While we all know cheating is wrong, it can be tempting to take the easy way out and copy someone else’s answers, especially if you forgot to study the night before. While in school I always tried to do my best on tests and accepted my fate if I did not know the material as well as I hoped. However, there was one exam that I regularly copied someone else’s answers on… my yearly eye exam.
I know what you are thinking, who actually cheats on an eye exam? And more importantly, how would you do it? Well, to answer the first question, I did, several times; and for the second, this only works if there is another person in the room having an exam done before you. Allow me to elaborate.
When my sister and I were kids, our regular doctor’s visits were generally scheduled on the same day, one right after the other. One of those appointments included our regular eye exams before the upcoming school year. About the time I was in third grade, I began to notice some of the letters were a little hard to distinguish when I had to read them out to the optometrist; especially when it came to letters like B or D and O or Q. I really did not want to wear glasses for fear of being made fun of by my classmates; so, I devised a plan to make sure I read all of the letters correctly.
The plan included my sister having her exam done first, which luckily was not a problem because she never minded going ahead of me. Once her exam started, I would have to wait my turn in a chair that just happened to be right next to the screen with the letters. I remembered from the year before that I could read the letters just fine when I was closer to the screen, so I put my excellent memorization skills to use and quickly memorized each slide of the chart while it was her turn. When it was my turn, I breezed through each chart, making sure to at least appear to struggle with some of the letters to make it more believable. It worked too, for many years. It also helped that we sat alphabetically in school and with my last name starting with a B, I was always in the first or second seat and could read what was on the board fairly well.
However, as it is said the best laid plans often go awry, my run of out-smarting the optometrist came abruptly to an end the Fourth of July before I entered eighth grade. As we were waiting for the fireworks to start, my family began commenting about writing on a nearby building. I could see no such writing and told them I had no clue what they were talking about. At first some admitted the way a light was shining might have made it hard to see; but when I still couldn’t find what they were talking about, I was made to walk towards said building until I could see the words. So I started walking, and kept walking and kept walking until my parents finally told me to come back. I never did see the words on that building. They realized it had been a few years since I had had my eyes checked, seeing as I wasn’t having any problems, and maybe it was time to go back. You would think I could have kept my mouth shut and not divulged my secret, but apparently I did not have that ability and the entire truth came out. Luckily, everyone thought it was absurd that anyone would be able to even figure out a way to cheat on their eye exam and merely laughed it off.
A few weeks later I went to the eye doctor, without my sister this time, and took a true eye exam. As suspected, it revealed I was blind as a bat. I will never forget the first time I put my glasses on and realized I could see the individual leaves on a tree instead of just a green blob; it was a miracle! I also got over my fear and wore my glasses for two years before swapping to contacts, and during that time I came to know that it was better to be able to see, even if someone thought I looked dorky. So the moral of this story is, when you cheat on a test-whether it is one in school or at the eye doctor-remember you only end up cheating yourself.