Who Needs Waterboarding?

by Risa Green


Over the summer, I wrote about how my son was diagnosed with Amblyopia, commonly known as “lazy eye,” and how the treatment for it involves wearing a hideous patch over one lens of his glasses while playing a special “video game” designed to strengthen his other eye. In that summer posting, when all of this was fresh and new to us, I described how my daughter whined that she wouldn’t be able to play the super-fun-looking video game, since the program kept track of my son’s progress and we didn’t want my daughter’s 20/20 vision to skew the results. My son was triumphant, in that way that younger siblings who are finally allowed to do something the older one isn’t, can only be. Maybe if you get a lazy eye, he told her, then you might get to play, too.


But now, six months into the “patch therapy,” as it’s called, those shiny, happy days are behind us, and the once oh-so-exciting video game has become nothing but a Drag with a capital D. Each day, as the designated video-game time rolls around, my stomach fills with dread as I prepare for my own personal Battle of Little Big Horn (or Battle of Little Big Tantrum, as I like to call it). There’s screaming, yelling, sobbing, pleading and door slamming, all of which usually concludes with bribery involving Lego paraphernalia. But I can’t blame him. With six, five-minute levels of repetitive, mind-numbing “games,” it truly is torture. It’s too bad that Dick Cheney didn’t know about this a few years ago, because if they had forced the prisoners at Gitmo to play this thing day in and day out, that embarrassing waterboarding incident could have been avoided entirely. In fact, my son’s favorite thing to do while “playing” is to tell me about all of the horrible things he would rather be doing. For example, he would rather drink toilet water than play his video game. He would rather go to the doctor and get fifty shots. He also would rather eat chopped liver every day for the rest of his life. His second favorite thing to do while playing, however, is to make up really annoying songs and sing them in a falsetto as loud as he possibly can, just to make sure that we’re all suffering right along with him. Which we are. (And before you judge me and my meanness, you try listening to Happy Happy Happy Rainbow – the only lyrics, by the way – to the tune of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer for thirty minutes every night and see if you don’t want to hang yourself with the printer cable.)