Lucky lie put me in glasses

Posted: Monday, March 22, 2010

In college, I didn't have time for sit-ins and demonstrations. I rebelled on a one-on-one basis, such as the semester I argued with my literature professor over the merits of writers such as Hemingway and Melville.

"Those guys can't write!" I would pontificate in class. "Hemingway doesn't know whether he wants his sentences to be long and sprawling or short and choppy; as for Melville - what is the deal in Bartleby, the Scrivener with Bartleby telling his boss, 'I would prefer not to' any time he gets an order? Nowadays that would get you fired."

(I was working three jobs in addition to attending class, so I was more inclined to defend management than some of my 1960s classmates.)

Partly because of that rebellion, and partly because of those three jobs, I would sometimes miss class. In those days, the professors actually noticed if you were absent - and actually cared - so one day the professor asked me my problem.

For the first, and last, time in my life, I lied.

"Headaches. I've been having headaches," I ad-libbed.

Whether she bought that, I don't know, but she asked if I had had my eyes examined.

No, I had not. But now I had to, and I had to take her a note from the doctor. I didn't want her to know that I had fibbed, so I went for my first eye exam.

A week later, I was wearing glasses. I have ever since.

Except, that is, until a year ago, when I had cataracts removed from both eyes. Suddenly, I could see to infinity - and beyond! I just couldn't see up close, so I had to use reading glasses.

Before long, I kept pairs of discount-store glasses at work, by the bed, in the living room - everywhere. They were cheap and efficient.

The trouble was, I had to keep putting them on to read and keep taking them off to drive and live life.

The doctor gave me a prescription for glorified reading glasses that I could wear all the time, but I didn't really want to spend more money on something as inconsequential as my vision.

But what if a trooper stopped me and noticed that my license called for eyeglasses?

Wasn't I spending nearly as much on cheap glasses as I would for one pair of real ones?

More important, what if I poked my eye out while doing things I had always done behind the safety of plastic lenses? Playing with the grandchildren was a full-contact sport, and even picking the newspaper up from our yard posed hazards when the maple's branches reached out in an attempt to blind me.

Finally, I could take it no more; I got my glasses. Cataract surgery was the wisest decision I ever made, but wearing glasses full time again is not so shabby.

I love using glasses, you see. I wear my "four eyes" badge with pride. I don't care that I have to clean the fingerprints off the lenses every day. Though they cost a lot, they are well worth it.

If you're sitting on the fence about your own eyes, I recommend good vision. Get surgery; get glasses; get your life back.

Oh, and Hemingway and Melville have aged quite well as writers, too. You should read them sometime.

• Reach Glynn Moore at glynn.moore@augustachronicle.com.



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