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The Vanity of Vision

Glasses were made for reading

By Al Carlos Hernandez
Published on LatinoLA: April 17, 2004


The Vanity of Vision


Poor reading vision snuck up on me like credit card interest when you make the minimum payment. You keep paying a nominal amount every month but the principal doesn?t go down, things get worse and the next thing you know you?ve paid eight grand for a 300 dollar washer dryer you bought at Sears.

I didn?t know that I was farsighted ? farsighted meaning that one can clearly see things far away rendering everything close kind of fuzzy, very much the same way the Feds see domestic policy.

Quite rapidly over a reasonably short period of time, all of the pictures friends and family showed me of their babies all looked like Elmer Fudd, every restaurant menu was Chinese, my moustache was an upside down U, and my gas gauge looked always like it was on E.

Before long my arms were not long enough for me to read anything. I would place documents on the table then stand back trying to position myself far enough into sighting something. Reading was no longer pleasurable, and watching TV for news was making me stupider by leaps and bounds. The computer screen caused me to squint into a Clint Eastwood grimace, needing moisturizer to smooth out the laugh lines.

The good news is that all women looked cute, very much the same way TV cameramen shoot divas like Joan Collins and Raquel Welch through a lens filters. Doing the nails were a problem, my hands varied from crack addict long one week, to obsessive compulsive nubs the next. Don?t ask about the toenails. Suffice to say I bought longer shoes for a while.

Fed up with my Mr. Magoo machinations, my wife, who looked quite lovely at the time, took me to the mall eye doctor to get my eyes checked. ?A or B, one or two, Republican or Democrat, Cheech or Chong, Boxers or Briefs???Ok I wasn?t paying attention.

The Doctor says ?Do you know that you are farsighted?? I said no, I consider myself an optimist and a pragmatic opportunist. He said ?No, you are farsighted? and in denial made a comment about if he was such a good docto,r why was he working at a mall? Which is when he called my wife in.

It was more complicated than I had feared. He fitted me with progressive lenses and for insulting the Doctor, Armani frames. The good news was that the specs were not needed all the time, only to read and to look smart at movie and TV pitch sessions, or to visit High School principals when one of my sons are scheduled to get suspended.

Progressive lens glasses work on three levels: Low to objectively critique baby pictures, order normal food from menus, and personal grooming; Middle, to see how your friends have really aged, check email and write feature length Latino comedy films that don?t sell; Top, to check for police hiding in the cuts while high speed driving.

The glasses made me feel like I spent an hour on a Tilt-A-Whirl ride at the Fair. I was dizzy, and kept bobbing my head up and down trying to see right, I had a headache as if I slammed my dome in a car door. I was too recessive to go progressive, and the shades sit on the shelf to this very day.

Killing time at the 99 Cent store, I went over to the reading glasses rack and meandered around the store critically assessing their array of cheap cookies, with a fist full of knockoffs trying on various ones to see which lens strength filled the bill, suddenly bingo 2.0 reading glasses and it was all to the gizzel. The bad news was they looked like they belonged to Mrs. Doubtfire or Edie Gourmet.

I became a quick study in men?s and women?s reading glasses and you better know that they make them with old folks in mind. Young folks don?t need reading glasses because they don?t have to read anymore.

The world in an instant became different within several months became of voracious reader again and became an expert at forgetting and losing glasses, which defeated the purpose. I now have several pair, one in each car, one in the saddlebag of my bike, brief case, bathroom. The vanity is gone.

?A wise man sees as much as he should, not as much as he can?.
-Montaigne





About Al Carlos Hernandez:
Al Carlos is a national columnist and screenwriter.




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