Friday, April 24, 2009


I just bought a dozen reading glasses from my local dollar store. Again.

My need for reading glasses has emerged slowly but with increasing necessity over the last five years or so. I need the 2.50 magnification level to have any chance of reading a damn thing.

For example, as an experiment I just removed my glasses and picked a random line from the new-age periodical "Aquarius" that just happens to be in front of me. It appears to inform me that:

"Few midgets or inbred parasites on brainscans will be epileptic" (or maybe it's apathetic, I can't quite tell).
Re-donning my glasses the words reveal themselves to be nothing more than: "For updates on which psychics or practitioners will be available....." Even though the naked eye version is infinitely more interesting, it's obvious that doing this consistently is apt to provide more adventure than I'm constitutionally able to handle.

The real trouble is that my mischievous attention-deficit gremlin puts the prospect of keeping up with my glasses on the same vexing par with remembering how tie a Four in Hand or adding all the right ingredients into a recipe (which makes for some fascinatingly inedible dinners). It reminds me of a very old Peanuts cartoon of Lucy asking Charlie Brown why he is upset. He tells her he wrote down a list of items to purchase at the store. "Did you forget to buy something on the list?" she asks. "No," he replies, "I forgot the list!"

(By the way, while unsuccessfully searching for this cartoon I stumbled onto a very funny YouTube clip of the entire Peanuts gang dancing to Outkast's "Hey Ya!" Sometimes when I am om the brink of despairing over the condition of humankind something like this comes along to restore my sense of hope.)

So anyway, this was supposed to be about glasses (see what I mean?)

I've learned to stock up in preparation for my inevitable process of losing or squashing the life out of each one, which means I periodically have vast herds of free-range eyeglasses roaming around the fruited plain of my life. Like shells at the mercy of an undulating tide I may find four on my nightstand and none at my office, or discover five in my car (after sitting on one) with none anywhere near my computer, or..... honestly..... three in my pants pockets and an additional two in my jacket. I recently had to go inside a courthouse and was forced to load up the little plastic bucket with all my glasses before going through the metal detector. I assumed the mien of a so studious that nothing less than a pocketful of eyeglasses would suffice while all around him the rabble of the impoverished toiled under the burden of a single pair of specs.

Over a short expanse of weeks my once-roving pack is inexorably whittled down to a single bent survivor, a misshapen and solitary character straight out of "Ten Little Indians" (Revised Optometrist Edition). That's the cue for me to traipse over to the dollar store for another dozen.

Cheap, utilitarian and casually expendable.....the perfect everyman for our times. See through them for a fleeting clarity of vision before oblivion claims their battered frame. Spectacle! Spectacle!

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