I started wearing glasses in sixth grade. That was almost 30 years ago. Think of it: three decades of seeing everything in a frame or seeing everything blurred. Those are my options.
Of course, sometimes there isn’t an option at all, like when you’re swimming or making out with somebody. Glasses are a no go in both of those situations. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been able to get a proper view of anything during sex because glasses always get in the way and I have to take them off. I may not even be gay for all I know.
I did order a set of contact lenses once, but the optometrist’s office wouldn’t let me leave with them until I had successfully demonstrated that I could put them in and take them out—a demonstration I was incapable of making.
For one thing, I lacked the (literal) hand-eye coordination required. For another, I get very jumpy when my eyes are fiddled with, even when I’m the one doing the fiddling, so I kept blinking and twitching and jerking like I was on something.
“Y’all don’t happen to have any of those lid-opening clamps like in A Clockwork Orange, do you?” I asked the woman who was trying to help me.
“Why don’t we look at frames?” she replied.
The worst part of an eye exam is when the person administering the test brings that little gun right up to your eyeball and shoots a puff of air that makes you jump out of your skin no matter how much you try to prepare yourself.
As I understand it, the purpose of this exercise is to figure out whether you have glaucoma.
The pre-puff anticipation is horrible. Probably not as horrible as glaucoma, but horrible nonetheless.
As the instrument approaches your delicate, jumpy eye, you keep thinking, I’m gonna be shocked! I’m gonna be startled! I’m gonna be scared! And then, sure enough, this tiny poof completely rattles you and you’re like, That wasn’t so bad but also that was very bad.
The slow buildup leads to a climax that jolts and disappoints at the same time, just like in The Blair Witch Project. And then, because you have another eye, you have to do the whole thing a second time and it’s somehow even worse, just like Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2.
Lord only knows how many pairs of glasses I’ve owned. I usually get new frames when my prescription changes, and I don’t keep the old ones.
For sentiment’s sake, maybe I should have held on to some of my pivotal eyewear of the past: Baby’s First Corrective Lenses, Baby’s First Horn Rims, Baby’s First Misguided Attempt to Look Like Late-Career John Lennon Despite Baby Having Newt Gingrich’s Head Size and Haircut. But it’s too late—the only place where I can see those glasses now is in my mind’s eye.
Time is running out for my current frames. I had my annual eye exam a couple weeks ago, got a new lens prescription, and ordered new glasses from Warby Parker.
At the exam, I asked my doctor about my jumpiness when anything gets near my eyes. Might there be an evolutionary explanation? I speculated. Perhaps my involuntary, meth-addict-like twitching is a result of the human species adapting to protect the most potent of our five senses?
“It’s a reflex,” he replied, unsatisfyingly, in an icy deadpan, then took aim at my fluttering lashes with his puff gun.