How I nearly failed my driver’s license eye exam

Earlier today, I transferred over my driver’s license from Illinois to Nevada.

Yes, I know the first question popping up in many people’s heads is why I still had an Illinois driver’s license when I moved to California in late 2016. The simplest answer for that is that I didn’t really know how long I was going to stay in California (meaning, it wasn’t exactly a “permanent” move), the address on my Illinois license was still technically a valid address of mine (as it was my parents’ home), and I determined I didn’t want to pay the extra fees to move my license when it was still valid (meaning, not expired).

However, a few days ago, I scheduled an appointment with the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) so I could apply for a driver’s license transfer (in person, as required). The thing about Las Vegas in particular is that you get a whole lot of benefits (upgrades, discounts, etc.) if you’re a Las Vegas resident – it’s just something that a lot of businesses do to distinguish tourists from locals, and give the locals some perks. I’m also considering going back to school for more advanced degrees, and I want to avoid missing out on in-state local tuition rates simply because I failed to update my driver’s license.

My visit made me realize how important it is to schedule an appointment. When I showed up, the waiting list showed 142 people in line with an estimated wait time of 3 hours and 52 minutes, but because I had scheduled an appointment, I got to skip the line and immediately receive help once my time came around.

I meticulously researched this process ahead of time so I could get in and out as quickly as possible. As a result, I was overprepared with all the necessary forms filled out and documentation provided. Everything was going very smoothly… until the eye exam.

The representative asked me to look into a machine and read off the letters from left to right, starting with column 1.

I said, “Those are literally gray dots… is this a trick question?”

… She confirmed that it was not a trick question.

You see, there were three columns of text. Column #1 was composed of gray dots, column #2 was blurry but was still sort of readable (as in, I couldn’t tell the difference between a B and E or an O and D, but I knew the difference between an M and J), and column #3 was perfectly readable.

I took a quick breath, said “Okay, pretend like I didn’t say that,” then started reading the letters. I said completely random letters for column #1, took my best guesses for column #2, and read column #3 normally.

After that was finished, she said, “Your vision with corrective lenses is 20/40.”

I asked, “So did I pass?”

She said “Yes.”

I replied, “Okay, that was literally more difficult than the LSAT that I took 3 years ago.”