Thursday, January 23, 2014


I failed another eye test yesterday. I had the whole suite of them, an hour and a half's worth of hell, and I failed at least one of them. Time to get new glasses. Again.
I always feel guilty when this happens, as if I didn't study hard enough or something. My prescription is not standard; it deviates from 'standard' by so many degrees that there is not a substantial difference in price between my opthalmologist and, say, Costco. And it is likewise not cheap. The price has come down--I distinctly remember my first couple of pairs costing eight hundred bucks in early eighties dollars--but not by as much as I'd like.

I've mostly come to terms with wearing glasses, which is probably a good thing because I've been doing it for 34 years now and I'll be wearing them when I die. (Actually, I hope I'm not...because the only time I'm not wearing my glasses is when I'm asleep.) I'm 41, almost 42, and I don't get called 'four-eyes' anymore. As hard as it may be for kids today (with or without glasses) to believe, us optically enhanced individuals didn't get an easy ride back in the days of Air Supply and Juice Newton. Granted, I didn't have far to travel down the road to Nerdsville, but all the same it was imperative I not look like I was on that road.
The first stage was verbal..."let's try all the words to see which one hurts." They all did, every last one of them, even the strictly factual 'four-eyes'. Those are two neutral words, four and eyes, and yet they were not so much spoken as flung, and I've come to believe almost any word will hurt if it's flung hard enough.
After the verbal taunts came the beatings. Most of the bullies were kind enough not to aim for my face, or more specifically, my eyes, and nearly everyone would knock it off when (not if but when) my glasses flew off.


The worst of the bullies would pull my glasses off my face, bend the frames, and on one occasion, stomp on them. Then I wouldn't even be able to see the punches coming. (My vision really was and is that bad. Plop me down glassesless across a table from somebody -- even somebody I know very well, like, for instance, my wife -- and if I didn't know she was there already I probably wouldn't recognize her.) No fair beating up on a nearly blind kid, but whoever said life was fair, anyway?

The remnants of that cowardly nerdy kid insisted I look into laser eye surgery. My retinas are too thin; I'd probably go blind. And while the prospect of going blind is something I lived with for decades until my eye doctor told me a few years back that it wasn't ever going to happen barring something catastrophic....I have no real urge to invoke catastrophe.

And forget contacts. I'd need to actually stick them IN MY EYE EWWW EWWW NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE THE NOPING NOPE RIGHT OUT OF THAT.

Thanks to advances in lens technology, my nose is no longer crushed by my glasses. Also, I don't have to worry about constantly misplacing my sunglasses anymore because my glasses are sunglasses. But vision this poor, even marginally corrected, has really shaped my life. It's part of why I don't drive. It's a large part of why I prefer books to television and movies, Words I can read at a glance. Pictures force me to really look at them. I'd rather not.

Take a movie like Lost In Translation. I came out of that with two thoughts. One, it was a very good movie. Two, I hated it. There was very little dialogue in that film and most of the story was told by facial expression, which I have never been very good at reading. (Can't lip read, either.) So I was left with the disquieting sensation that I had just sat for a couple of hours and watched something flying whoosh over my head.

The disdain for pictures runs deep. I won't read comic books, excuse me, graphic novels. Outside of hockey and a very few TV shows that catch my interest, I'd prefer we didn't have a television at all. I don't take pictures and I don't like having them taken of me, and it's only partly because I'm the opposite of photogenic...

And no, I don't drive--if I had 20/20 vision I probably would drive, which would change my life in all sorts of interesting ways. For the better? Who can tell? My life is my life, and I'm just trying to do the best I can with what I've got. Part of what I've got is defective eyes. And so it goes...

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I’m sorry to hear about the condition of your eyes, Ken. I know it's hard to be restricted in some things you want to do due to poor eye condition, and wearing eyeglasses for your entire life can really be exhausting. Anyway, regular visits to your ophthalmologist will surely help you. Just look at the brighter side of life always. Thanks for sharing that! I wish you all the best!

Doris Gibbs @ Moody Eyes