A few weeks ago, my glasses broke. I didn’t break them, they just kinda broke themselves. One of the earpieces came off the little peg it rests on and connects to the frame. My wife and I tried to repair the earpiece with some glue, but afterward we noticed just how uneven and stretched my glasses were. We came to the agreement that it was time for me to get new glasses. I would have to make an appointment with the eye doctor and get an exam, I was told by my wife. Those glasses were old and surely my prescription had changed.
I found an older pair of glasses in a kitchen drawer and proclaimed to my wife there was no reason to go to the eye doctor. I could see fine with the new/old glasses and I would be fine. My wife insisted I make the appointment anyway, because her sight, you see, could reach into the future. She knew these old glasses found in the kitchen drawer were a temporary fix to a permanent issue and I would be coming around to her idea eventually.
We were in the historical district of our little town one afternoon and I was doing a rather rotten job of convincing my wife about the glasses. I finally turned to a woman and asked her opinion. She was short, wearing a scarf or a hood, I really can’t remember. What I do remember is the woman really did not have any insight into my issue.
“That’s a statue of the Virgin Mary,” my wife said. “You just asked the Virgin Mary about your optical health, Mister Magoo.”
I didn’t think my eyesight was that bad. I could see to drive. I could watch television with no issue. I imagine I would have gotten used to the headaches eventually. I wasn’t having much difficulty at work either, unless there was small print. Unless there was print. Unless I looked directly at something. With my eyes open. Wide open.
I figured the glasses I had found were not that old. I said to my wife I thought they were a couple of years old. She told me we had gotten them when we lived in Maryland. That’s not that long ago, I thought. We moved to North Carolina more than seven years ago. The glasses were probably eight years old. Eight years old with an old prescription.
“You’re going to the eye doctor. I have made you an appointment.”
“I can’t take off a work day to go to the eye doctor. It’s an hour drive from work.”
“You don’t have an appointment with your old doctor. You have an appointment five minutes from work.”
And so it was settled. I had an appointment with an eye doctor. I don’t like going to eye doctors or dentists or anywhere people get a little too close. I left work early and went to the appointment. When I got there, my wife was already in the waiting room. She said she wanted to make sure I went, so she figured she would come along. I said it was fine, but she had to wait in the waiting room. I’m almost 50 years old and I don’t need my hand held at the eye doctor. The exam was a lot more high-tech than I remembered. I looked at tablets and computer screens in addition to the usual eye doctor stuff. It was almost fun. Well, except for the “eyesight is lousy” part.
The doctor was about 15 years old and when he was done he shook my hand and showed me to a big showroom filled with eyeglass frames and smiling people in lab coats. My wife came over from the waiting room and helped me pick out frames.
There was one set of frames that I liked and my wife did not. Okay, there were about 20 that I liked and my wife did not. She said one set made me look like Buddy Holly. I was okay with that. I like Buddy Holly, but clearly my wife does not. A set of wire-framed glasses made me look 20 years older than I am. Those were a no-go. I found some that looked like the ones Tom Selleck wears on “Blue Bloods” and tried them on. I did not look like Tom Selleck. I don’t really look much like him to begin with, so I doubt a pair of glasses would do the job. If someone with lousy eyesight looked at me when I was wearing an aloha shirt, maybe. Maybe not.
In the end, I got frames that looked a lot like the ones I had before. Ones that made me look like a celebrity that my generation held in high regard.
I looked just like……Mister Magoo.
Baltimore native Joe Weaver is a husband, father, pawnbroker and gun collector. From his home in New Bern, he writes on the lighter side of family life.