Monday, December 15, 2008

It's Always Fun 'Til Someone Loses and Eye

Good manners matter. If you should ever happen to find yourself in midtown Raleigh, North Carolina, Tod De'aden will greet you with impeccable manners -- just before he gouges your eyes out.

No, Mr. De'aden is not acting out some creepy Hannibal Lecter fantasy. You see, Tod is harvesting corneas for the local eye bank.

Josh Shaffer of the Raleigh News and Observer was keeping his eye on De'aden.

"After five years, he still greets each cadaver with a respectful tone," observes Shaffer, "no matter what horror-movie image springs out of the waiting body bag."

"Hello, I'm Tod," he always says. "I'm here to get your eyes for the betterment of humanity."

It's all about manners, see?

So, what is the profile of a would-be peepers keeper?

By night, he plays guitar and pens tunes for a pair of black metal bands: Apotheosys and Mysteriarch. You can check out De'aden on, swinging his hair like an ax.

But by day, he is a thoughtful philosophy graduate living with his aunt off Creedmoor Road, happy to have a paying job.

So there actually are jobs for philosophy grads.

At the time, his father was dating a woman who did extractions for the Eye Bank, and the job seemed a good fit for De'aden's nimble guitar fingers and sometimes ghoulish disposition.

"It was that or get a 9-to-5 selling stuff," De'aden said, sipping a cup of black coffee at the Starbucks in Stonehenge Shopping Center, off Creedmoor Road. "They said, 'If you don't freak out and you can hold your lunch down, you're probably OK.' "

Stonehenge Shopping Center? Really?

The local eye bank collects roughly 3000 corneas per year, provided that people have signed their organ donor cards. Blood tests are done to match donor/recipient blood types and to screen for HIV and hepatitis.

If you're every in midtown Raleigh, look Tod up, and check out his band if they're playing. (Here's a youtube clip of Apotheosys, one of Tod's bands, playing at the Somewhere Else Tavern.)

On a closing note -- surprisingly, "experiences with the dead haven't made it into his metal songs, even though his work might lend a fresh first-person feel." But he still minds his manners.

I see.

No comments: