Let’s raise our glasses high … and then chuck them as far as they will go.
No, I’m not suggesting some sort of rowdy European toast involving large amounts of wine and singing and smashing goblets onto the floor, I’m talking about those other kind of glasses — the kind that sit on your nose and cling to your ears.
You know: eyeglasses, spectacles, specs, four-eyes — those sight-assisting devices many of us have more or less permanently attached to our face.
Now I’m really trying hard not to be ungrateful, after all, thank goodness somebody invented glasses so that we myopic minions can go through life without bumping into things.
It’s just that you just want to throw the darned glasses out the car window sometimes.
At least I do.
But that would be littering and subject to a humongous fine, and then I would bump into things with my car, which is even worse.
I can clearly remember everything being fuzzy.
This was in about Grade 3 down at South School, which has since been torn down and replaced by a seniors living complex (coincidence?) and I thought everybody saw the world as more or less blurry.
It was perfectly normal to me that the teacher’s writing on the blackboard was really so bad that I could barely read it — I just naturally assumed that she had somehow perfected a fuzzy style of writing.
And then I got glasses (odd that I don’t remember where or how) but all of a sudden the teacher could write perfectly and everything around me was so crystal clear that it was like living in a world of 3D (which come to think of it, is actually how we live in the world) and I didn’t even have those headaches anymore that I thought were also normal for everybody.
That’s good part.
It also meant, however, that it was the beginning of a lifetime of wearing spectacles.
It was quite unfortunate from the get-go that I had somehow ended up with the nerdiest cat-eye type glasses (thanks Mom) that immediately caused endless mirth among my buddies and constant kidding from the rest of world. Or so it seemed.
And also, along with the gift of sight came the sore nose from holding the glasses up, and the sore ears from the stiff glasses arms digging into your (my) big lugs.
As I may have mentioned, I had (have) quite the set of ears — let’s just say Dumbo would be proud — so there was a lot of flap upon which to hang the glasses.
Which generally caused my lugs to stick out even more, and to assume the colour of bright red through the normal wear and tear caused by heavy plastic vision correction wearing wounds into my ear-crotch and the back of my oversized jughandles.
Of course, glasses always fogged up in the winter, and they were always scratched and dirty on account of I was a little kid, and a little male kid to boot, and of course I kept losing them on account of I kept taking them off whenever possible.
And by the time high school rolled around I took them off and lost them more or less permanently, quite happy by then to see the world through no glasses at all, rose-coloured or otherwise, and to put up with the odd headache.
Besides, I was busy concentrating on growing my hair as long as possible at the time, which may or may not have accounted for the odd headache.
But after years of bumping into things, blurry blackboards and fuzzy faces were no longer acceptable and I was forced kicking and screaming back into the land of the four-eyes. But by then, there were many more styles available, and a person could even get John Lennon wire glasses, which of course I did.
And after years of what can only be described as ‘tolerating’ the fact that I was both cursed and blessed with eyeglasses on a permanent basis, I was thrust headlong into that most frustrating, wonderful, stupid, excellent invention — bifocals. A
lso, trifocals, and possibly multifocals, which have two or more areas of different magnification correction on different places on the glasses in front of your baby blues.
Later to called “progressive lenses,” this is basically a prank by the optical industry for the amusement of all those poor specialists who have to put up with people like me trying to pick out frames at the glasses store.
For them, it’s payback for us (me) being such a frustrating pain by grunting and griping about frames and glasses, etc., because they get to watch us attempting to function whilst peering, squinting and blinking through our new “progressives,” hopelessly confused and discombobulated.
At first it’s like looking at life in a funhouse mirror.
Negotiating a set of stairs at the optician’s office feels like stepping off the Calgary Tower.
And when you finally get to the parking lot, all woozy and wonky, let’s just say you better have someone there to drive you home.
And when (if) you finally do get used to your multilayered progressive eyeglasses, you have to read with your nose way up in the air, and drive with your chin pressed firmly into your chest. Everything else you try to look at is known as your “middle vision” or, in scientific optical terms, your “totally burry part.”
But really, a person shouldn’t complain. It’s really a small price to pay for being able to see quite a few things semi-normally most of the time. I mean, it could be worse.
After all, we could get to the stage where people are shoving hunks of glass and/or plastic material right onto their eyeballs in order to attempt to see better without making an involuntary statement with the latest pair of seriously overpriced eyeglasses.
Or, heaven forbid, it’s not that far beyond the realm of ambitious imagination that people might someday want to get their eyeballs scratched and cut and burned in the wild and crazy hope that they can have their vision corrected without using various forms of magnifying glasses in front of or stuck to their precious irises.
Now if that ain’t nuts I don’t know what is.
I just wish I could afford it.
Harley Hay is a local freelance writer, award-winning author, filmmaker and musician. His column appears on Saturdays in the Advocate. His books can be found at Chapters, Coles and Sunworks in Red Deer.