Local man engrossed with Sophocles gradually losing sight

Otto Rich, 35, is plagued by worsening vision.


Written by Matthew Poe, Literature Editor and Contributor.

Iowa City, Iowa–Otto Rich, 35, a nontraditional junior English major at the University of Iowa, has become enticed with the works of Sophocles since being introduced to them in his Greek Mythologies class.

However, Rich has recently noticed his vision deteriorating. “First, it was glasses,” Rich remarked in a candid interview Monday. “Now, I can barely do anything, which sucks being an English major–practically incapacitates me.” He added, “I got a D on my last in-class quiz.” With compromised vision, Rich chose “Demosthenes” over “Dante” on the multiple choice exam, the latter of which appeared lower on the choice list, and which Rich probably meant to choose but couldn’t make out or differentiate. “I don’t know what’s going on with him,” said Rich’s professor, Dr. Edward Everdeen, who was noticeably annoyed, “whether it’s his home life or if it’s some genetic flaw.”

Rich, who spent over a decade as a construction worker before enrolling the the university, had initial plans to pursue graduate work in hopes of becoming a professor but “doesn’t see the point anymore.” “My optometrist tells me that reading extensively will strain my eyes, though she can’t figure out why my eyesight has gotten so bad so quickly.”

Having read Sophocles’s famed Oedipus the King a month ago, the text on which Rich has chosen to write his final paper for the class, Rich told reporters, on completing the story, “I felt a weird urge to call my mom.” He found it worth noting, too, that during spring break, when he was home for a week, he felt a “disturbing attraction” to his mother, which he quickly repressed: “It was weird. I got home, and suddenly thought, ‘My mom is pretty hot.'”

It was shortly after this incident that Rich’s once 20-20 vision began slowly deteriorating. “It seems that the more I’ve put into this project, the worse my vision has gotten,” the 35-year old college student said. “First my vision was a little fuzzy, so I went to the eye doctor, who gave me a ‘slight prescription,’ and then about a month later, when I was nearing the end of writing my paper, I got in a car accident.” Rich explained the rear-end collision for which he was responsible, having not seen the bright red Hummer H2 in front of him, only one car-length’s away, which he crashed into not realizing the upcoming intersection light had turned from yellow to red. “If I’m being frank, I couldn’t make out much of anything–I didn’t know where I was.”

Rich got off easy, as his near blindness incapacitated him from seeing even which pedal he was pressing. Rich, whose eyesight has reached near complete blindness in the past week, was recommended to a seeing-eye dog, named Rex, by his optometrist until more serious preventive methods can be explored, possibly even LASIK eye surgery (which Rich has temporarily ruled out due to the risk of blindness associated with such procedures).

“I don’t know, maybe it’s inevitable,” Rich solemnly muttered, darkly joking with reporters, “You know, it’s crossed my mind having my eyes removed entirely, even doing it myself… You know, like in the story. They just seem kind of useless now.” He added, “I don’t know, maybe it would be poetic.”



Matthew Poe, PhD recently joined The Thirsty Thespian staff as Literature Editor and Contributor. Poe used to teach at the University of South Carolina, from which he earned his PhD, but was fired for his “radical conspiracy theorist beliefs,” which were viewed as “wildly unfounded and not scholarly.”

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