You could go from four eyes to laser beams

I don’t like glasses – the kind you wear on your face. I have nothing against the other kind of glasses depending entirely on which beverage they contain.

I don’t like glasses – the kind you wear on your face.

I have nothing against the other kind of glasses depending entirely on which beverage they contain.

Oh, I don’t mind your eye glasses; in fact, they look quite nice on you. I just don’t like mine. Wearing them I mean.

I’ve had to be a “four-eyes” off and on ever since elementary school, back when lenses were as thick as the proverbial Coke bottles, and the styles ranged from Nerd to Supernerd. Black horn-rimmed nerd specs long before they were cool and trendy. Hopelessly lame even without the piece of white tape on the bridge holding the cheap brittle plastic frames together.

At least they weren’t as bad as the “cat-eye” glasses the poor sight-challenged girls had to wear. Just plain ugly then and now, obviously designed by a demented misogynistic ailurophile, which, as everybody knows, is an overly pretentious way of saying “woman-hating cat lover.”

Thing is, eye glasses make the back of your ears sore and leave red footprints on the bridge of your nose. They fog up in winter, get constantly compromised with raindrops, dirt and smudges, and amass scratches all over the expensive scratch-proof coating.

Alternatives? Besides wandering around with a perpetual headache in a blurry world, squinting and walking into things, there are basically two options.

1. Contact lenses. This interesting piece of technology consists of jamming little plastic discs into your eyes, where the tiny Frisbees attach themselves to your eyeballs through various scientific principles such as gravity, fluid dynamics involving the act of suction similar to that found on the tentacles of octopuses, and a secret ingredient known by the code name ‘crazy glue’.

Contacts, however, provide a sense of freedom that only unfortunate spectacle-wearing vision-challenged people can understand and appreciate, but which comes with the teensy weensy price of feeling like someone has thrown a handful of sand in your eyes and that there is a wad of pink fibreglass insulation attached to your eyeballs. It’s OK though, it only hurts when you blink.

2. The alternative to wearing dumb glasses and sticking plastic in your eyes with your own grubby fingers is something called orogolomistician surgery, which in addition to being a great term to bring up in random conversations to try to impress somebody, is an overly pretentious way of saying “eye surgery.”

Everybody either is somebody or knows somebody who has undergone this quaint little vision correction procedure.

Scientists first developed the laser pointer, which was originally designed to make use of a beam of light instead of a stick to point at boring facts on a screen in boring business meetings, and when the scientists got tired of amusing themselves by making pets chase the little red beams of light, they discovered a special technique whereby they could put the light in a large fancy-looking device, shine it in people’s eyes and have impressive outcomes in the form of large amounts of cash in their bank accounts.

Scientifically, it is proven to be a safe procedure – as safe as you might imagine zapping a deadly laser into your eyeballs might be.

The way I understand it is, the doctor shines this beam of laser light, which may be red or green depending on the current financial status of the patient, shines it at your “iris” which causes your “cornea” to fuse with one of your “pupils” (which are also called “cataracts”) until they have successfully reached the limit on your credit card.

OK, so maybe I don’t have what you might call a ‘firm grasp’ on the exact scientific details of laser eye surgery per se, but I do know first hand that Lasik and other vision correction surgery have their own Canadian dollar exchange rate.

Because when you follow up on the ads that say $490 per eye, it actually translates to about $5,490 in laser surgery dollars.

This is what happened to someone very close in my family (my Better Half, but don’t tell her I told on her), and it’s the reason we are both still wearing glasses.

And you can always tell laser surgery survivors. They’re the ones with reading glasses hanging around their neck and holes in their wallets on account of orogolomistician surgery only fixes vision from two meters to twenty meters, or in technical laser eye surgery terms: about $5,000 worth.

So, many people end up wearing glasses. And some people actually appear to like it, taking it to another level, in fact.

Take Elton John in his outrageous stage costume phase (please!). He wore every over-the-top, fashion-statement frames ever created on this planet and several other planets.

He made a real “spectacle” of himself (sorry).

And can you imagine Roy Orbison or Buddy Holly without their horn rims? Or beloved vocalist Nana Mouskouri, or pop singer Lisa Loeb, who made her thick frames so popular she’s started her own line of fashion eyewear. Or John Lennon’s round wire frames, Ray Charles’ sunglasses, or Dame Edna’s tastefully understated cat-eyes?

Like everything else in this complicated life, there’s a place for everything, and unfortunately for some of us, that place is on our face, digging into the back of our ears and leaving footprints on the bridge of our nose.

Harley Hay is a local filmmaker and freelance writer.

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