Kay Frances: Do you see what I see?

Kay Frances: Do you see what I see?

Sure, if you hold it a little closer. Now farther away. Now closer.

By the time they reach middle age, a lot of people complain that their eyesight is beginning to fail. They lament that their arms just aren’t long enough to read menus and they have to invest in a pair of “reader” glasses.

I’ve had bad eyesight since the seventh grade and have endured many comments over the years; my height, my weight, my freakishly-long fingers.

But most of the comments I’ve gotten are about my eyewear.

Yes, I wear glasses. Mostly because I’ve come to enjoy seeing the world around me. Most people that wear glasses have probably exhausted all other options. It’s not that we are so fond of having glass and metal hanging off our faces.

But, invariably, if I take off my glasses, someone has to note, “You sure look a lot better without those glasses.”

I just squint at them and say, “You know, so do YOU!” I’ve been hearing that remark about my glasses for so long that I’ve had years to hone my snarky comeback.

I first tried contact lenses years ago when I was in high school. They were pretty new then. They were called “hard lenses,” and were very expensive. I was never able to wear them. They felt like shards of glass. Why? Because that’s exactly what they were!

Shards. Of. Glass.

People would say, “You need to increase your ‘wear time.’ You just need to GET USED TO THEM.” Translated: “You just need to continue to let the glass shards cut into your eyeballs long enough to develop the amount of scar tissue needed to numb the pain.”

What’s not to like?

It also turned out that I have “dry eyes” and hard contact lenses needed to be able to “float” on your eyeballs. With me, they operated more like miniature plungers, sucking the last bit of fluid from my eyes like thirsty mosquitoes.

Back in the day, contact lenses were so expensive that if someone lost one while playing basketball, it would shut down the entire game. People would begin crawling all over the gym floor like roaches on a biscuit. When someone found it, they would jump up and act like they’d discovered the Hope Diamond. The spectators would burst into applause and cheer wildly as the lens was returned to its rightful owner. He would then pop it into his mouth for a good “cleaning,” then put it back in his eye.

Did you follow that chain of custody?

From the floor to the finder’s filthy fingers to the player’s dirty, sweaty hands into his bacteria-infested mouth into his eye. No one ever questioned this astoundingly unsanitary process. We were probably just happy they were going to resume the game. I guess we figured that any nasty eye infection would develop long after the final buzzer.

At times, someone would think they had found the lens, only to discover that it was a false alarm. Thanks, Eagle Eye. Way to vastly disappoint an entire gymnasium full of people with your premature exclamation, “I found it!… Oh, never mind. It was just a gum wrapper.”

At other times, after everyone was down on their hands and knees scouring the gym floor, it was discovered that the guy didn’t “lose” the contact at all; it had just migrated back up in his head somewhere.

“Never mind! I got it!”

Same raucous cheers and applause. I often wondered if it was just a cheap ploy to get a “time out,” or to get a round of applause for merely inspecting your own eyeball.

Then they came up with disposable “soft” contact lenses which were supposed to be soooo much more comfortable than the old hard ones. Everyone sang their praises. People would even sleep in them.

Imagine being able to see your alarm clock when you woke up instead of just having to “guess” the time by the position of the sun on your bedroom wall. Well, due to my aforementioned dry eye problem, these soft contacts just operated like sponges in my eyes, once again sucking up all the liquid and leaving my eye high and dry.

Of course, you could put drops in your eyes throughout the day, but this became like a part-time job; and, it was annoying to be ever-aware of your eyes, especially when your eye makeup would run down your face with each application of the drops. Sure, you didn’t have glasses on, but you’d look like rocker Alice Cooper after a three-hour concert.

So, glasses it is.

And, now all of my middle-aged comrades have caught up with me and have joined The Glasses Club. The main difference is that I still have the one pair that I wear all of the time, but they have 49 pairs that they can’t keep up with.

KAY FRANCES

Kay is a motivational humorist from Wilmington who encourages people to “laugh more, stress less and take care of yourself!” She gives humorous keynote presentations and stress management workshops all over the United States. She is the author of “The Funny Thing about Stress; A Seriously Humorous Guide to a Happier Life.” To order the book or find out more about Kay, visit her website at: www.KayFrances.com.

Salt Magazine