Yesterday, my last bastion of physical vanity was inalterably pulverized.



Sure, my hair’s been sparse for a couple decades, my physique comes and goes—mostly the latter—but I never wore eyeglasses before. That’s about to change real-soon.


I never wanted to be a part of the glasses-wearing community. Yes, I’ve been sporting, and losing, dollar-store sunglasses for many years, but there was always something about my vision that I took pride in.


When I look in the mirror, my minds-eye evidently still envisions my old family pictures. Dad always was bespectacled, as was Mom. My two older brothers always wore them, with the middle one allegedly not leaving the womb without his coke-bottle lenses.


Not me.


I’ve relished this apparent sense of ocular superiority for a while now, even if my run of being glasses-free probably should have expired around the time of the Clinton Administration. Legend has it that the US even saw budget surpluses back then. Nah, must have been a mirage.


Hey, I just read that, per the Vision Council of America, 75% of the adult population wears some form of vision correction. Let me note that I kept trying to increase the font size as I read this…the sneaky bastards disseminated this stat in about a 3-point font.


Yesterday, I officially became part of the other ¾ of our adult peeps who need some help with their—um, OUR—peeps.


My meeting with the eye doctor was actually a lot of fun. My special definition of fun includes sleeping on thumbtacks, watching Andy Reid press conferences (not for everybody) and feeling old and illiterate.


It should be noted here that Dr. Ed, who I used to play hoops with, is a good guy and a solid pro. Although I procrastinated for a good ten years before seeing someone, I do have faith in his judgment. I think I do, if I can see past my disbelief.


His judgment was, essentially, that I have no business driving without glasses. The recommendation was for firm contact lenses, but I can’t see myself wearing those things. I’m so clumsy that I’m sure I’d either lose or swallow them every 12 hours, water optional.


He mentioned something to the effect that I am, at best, a freakin’ nuisance to other drivers and should not be on the road without help. And that’s during the day; at night, Mr. Magoo would be a step up as a designated driver.



It gets better. With state-of-the-art glasses, he hopes that my left eye will be corrected to 20/50. The right eye? Let’s just say that when I put one of those paddles over my left eye, Katy Perry and Kanye West look exactly alike. Don't worry too much:  My ears are plenty good enough to detect that neither can sing worth a damn, but that’s beside the point.



A couple weeks ago, I knew that something was really wrong when I had strange visions of blurry vision one day when in a Wal-Mart. Perhaps, my lack of vision allowed me to enter Wal-Mart in the first place, but it was just a quick trip to find erasable markers for my son. I felt dizzy, and not with joy.


A few days later, I had a similar experience at my son’s pre-school Halloween Party. I left his classroom when everything looked a lot like Aisle 23-B at Wal-Mart.


A few evenings after that, I drove right past an intersection where I always make a right turn to get home. Nothing looked familiar from the passenger window.


Dr. Ed had me looking through all kinds of lenses in his examining room and I was having a devil of a time trying to detect the difference between an E and an F. That’s an exaggeration: I couldn’t see the difference between an E and a shaded triangle.


“It looks like you have a cataract in your right eye.”


What the Euck?


“That may actually be good news; it’s correctable with surgery.”




I managed to recoup some sense of pride.


You know, Ed, I still hit close to .600 in my softball league last summer, and played a terrific third base.


“I guess you have terrific instincts.”


Obviously, those instincts never got me to the eye doctor in the last, well, ever before yesterday. I’m not sure if I’m an idiot by instinct, or by custom.


A little while later, I was looking in the mirror in a more realistic way than ever before. I’m not sure how many pairs of glasses I tried on; I’m not even sure if I muffled my tears of laughter and sorrow as I tried on each new pair.


Holly convinced me that the square lenses were my shape, and I think that I ordered these really thin frames made out of titanium. Out of deference to what ever visionary vanity remains, my right eye will not be covered with a patch.


Cataract surgery? Yeah, I’ll probably bite that bullet once I figure out how my health insurance works.


In the meantime, did I ever tell you that on family vacations to Indiana and Minnesota, that I could read road signs from a mile away? In fact, on a clear day, I could see the eastern edge of St. Paul from Indianapolis.


True story.


Even if my hindsight’s only 20/50.


As always, thank you for reading. Please check out my other books, blogs and speaking information.





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