I had been in denial for a long time. I'd go out to a restaurant and when the menu turned into
hieroglyphics that I could not read, I just blamed it on dirty contact lenses or the dim lighting.
When the bill came and I couldn't tell what the damage was, I'd just give my girlfriend the
credit card, tell her I had to go to the men's room in the worst way, and have her sign the
check. It was easier that way, and sure as heck, less painful.
When I'd start to read a book in bed at night, I'd get the, "WTF's????! The words were all blurry
and fuzzy. I'd stretch the book out at arms length and they'd become clear. Then I'd bring them
back into reading position and the words would go out of focus. I could blame the wicked crows
feet around my eyes to more than 40 years of laughter and sun damage, but when the eye sight
starts to go, it's a tell-tale sign that you're making the turn and playing on the first hole of the
back nine of life. You're probably closer to wearing Depends than Diesel jeans and when you
have to break down and buy "reading glasses", well, the Grape Nuts and Metamucil are close to
being part of your menu.
I had put going off to the drugstore to buy a pair of cheap ones for quite some time. I had
always made fun of my parents when they broke out their funny-looking glasses while we were
out at a restaurant and swore that I'd never wear those things. They were just not cool Well, it happened to me. Last week, just as God told Albert Pujols to take the $300 million and be an
Angel, He suggested I go to CVS to get a pair. I had to go there anyway and fill-in up on the
alcohol-laden, liver damaging cold & flu products to give me some relief from some kind of nasty thing that was penetrating my immune system. As I was strolling the aisles of CVS, I walked into
the shrine for those with bad sight. There was the rack of reading glasses, a tower that was neat
and tight, filled with specs for those with bad sight.
Like a 17-year old buying condoms for the first time, I looked both ways to make sure nobody
would come down my lane to see me trying them on. That would be truly embarrassing. No, not
the condoms, but the reading glasses. Get your mind out of the gutter. First thing I noticed, was the
price. My late father said they'd be a couple of bucks at the drugstore, but I thought he was
kidding. They had reading glasses for 1.50, 2.00, 2.50, 3.00. I was like 'wow', that is cheap
and in this economy, that's a helluva deal. I didn't worry too much about the style, as long as
didn't pick out red-rimmed glasses that would've made me look like Sally Jessy Rafael. I found
a pair with pretty think frames that were black. Think Martin Scorsese. I was into a different
look, something that made me appear more artsy than intelligent. Does that happen in a mid-life crisis?
I got the pair I wanted and walked sheepishly went to the counter as if I was going to hand
over two boxes of Preparation H to the pharmacist. Don't you ever wonder how much those
guys are laughing when they see the items that people bring to the counter? Depends,
Preparation H, Tampons, Super Magnum condoms, Enemas, good lord. I guess we all get
used to the pain and temporary embarrassment. We can always give them that look that says,
"Oh, it's not for me,' and then make a a bee-line to you your car as fast as Usain Bolt runs the 100-meter dash. It's all good.
As I was paying for my glasses, a sense of accomplishment came over me. I had actually
bought a pair of reading glasses. Wow. A big step. When the cashier said, "That will be $22.14,"
I became flustered, "Whaaa? The glasses are marked, 2.50." Then the cashier looked at me
like one of my old teachers who was about to inform me that I failed the class. "Um, no, these
glasses are $21.00 plus taxes. The 2.50 is for the strength of the glasses." D'OH!
I could do nothing but laugh my ass off to mask the embarrassment. "Yeah, I knew that" I said
to myself even I though I clearly didn't. That's funny. I thought the glasses were $2.50. Does
anything you put on your body cost $2.50 these days. Well, as I walked out of CVS I knew
that I had purchased the "Cadillac" of reading glasses. As I looked at my paper thin plastic bag,
I noticed a speck of light bouncing up and down. As I reached in, I was surprised to discover
that the glasses had lights installed on both sides of the frames. How cool was that? Who got
the bargain?! Man, I couldn't wait to get home and try those puppies on in the dark with a book
in hand. How cool was I? I bet none of my friends had reading glasses like this. I might just
start wearing them to church to make a statement and let the cougars know that they don't have
to drop down that far in age classes knowing that I have these cool reading glasses.
Then it hit me. There's a reason you only take the glasses out to read the menu before quickly
putting them back in. There's a reason, you use them to read when you're in the comfort and
privacy of your own home. Reading glasses don't look cool on a man. (Beautiful woman is
another story.) They don't look cool even if they have lights installed on both sides of the frame.
Oh, well, at least I can see clearly again.