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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

 
The 'eyes' have it


The time had come and gone for new spectacles for Stephanie. Sentenced to them since second grade, I relished the opportunity as a young adult to forego wearing them at the first given opportunity. Back in my day, glasses not only gave you improved vision, but an opportunity to see more clearly the kids making fun of your "four eyes," and allowed you to better dodge broccoli florets tossed at your head during lunch by the cool kids who didn't have to wear them.

Glasses were soooooo uncool in second grade.

By the fourth grade, some kids had cool glasses. Half-shaded lenses with diamond insets of their initial or an outline of a unicorn or ladybug, I recieved no such thing, though it wasn't for a lack of begging. I was assigned the big, round frames that dwarfed my head. I had to be cautious when playing outside, for fear I'd light my face on fire. Astronomers at NASA occasionally utilized the power and sheer size of my lenses to investigate the possibility of galaxies beyond our universe. The only person I knew who's glasses were equally as heinous as mine was my brother Randy. Between the two of us, we kept Foster Grant in business.

Being nearsighted in one eye, farsighted in the other, I was able to dump my heavy glass frames when my parents weren't looking and use only one eye at a time for years. I'd read the books I loved with my left eye, and drive or watch TV with my right. This worked like a charm until some guy named Gates thought every home and business needed a computer and someone to operate it. In order to work at a computer all day, glasses were in store and I wasn't a bit happy.

I made a trip to the eye doctor in 1989. He sent me home with a pair of contacts and glasses to boot. My prescription hadn't changed much, and I was smitten with my smaller, round lenses and proceeded to wear them until this Wednesday when I visited my new doctor.

The cute girl in the office quickly ushered me and my 18 year-old specs, now held together by gorilla glue and paper clips, to the diagnostic room. In almost 20 years, the equipment used to determine the lack of sight has drastically increased. I remember only looking at signs and charts at my last visit. We weren't in the chair more than two minutes when she immediately blinded me with eyedrops and told me to wait a while while I "dilated." The last two times I remember dialating, I left the building with a child. I prayed to God it didn't end that way this time.
By the time I'd passed through four different machines and was seeing spots the size of a Boeing 747, The doctor came in and we played the "better?/worse?" game until I wouldn't have recognized my own children had they paraded in front of me.

The best thing about visiting the eye doctor is being allowed to play dress up with no less than 500 pairs of empty frames once your vision has been temporarily reduced to that of the average gnat. The kind assistant asked to see my old glasses, to get a feel of what I'd been parading about in for the last two decades and stifled a giggle and said, "Oh, those are a little dated,"
Drunk on my choices, I gravitated to the most crazy/fun specs I'd ever seen. "Style be dammed! " I thought, "If I'm going to wear them, then I'm going to enjoy them!

Handing her my selection, she nodded and wrote the numbers down.
"These are a change, that's for sure," she smiled.
By early next week, I'll be able to see clearly for once and for all if indeed glasses are uncool, or just the person who wears them.



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