I always dreamed of wearing glasses. Seeing glasses.
As a small child I would try on my dad’s excessively large, slightly tinted, bifocals and model them in front of a mirror for as long as I could stand seeing myself in a blur. That or until one of my parents would catch me in the midst of this most frowned upon activity and offer a lecture about the damage I was doing to my perfect vision.
Little did they know, this was precisely my intention.
After a botched attempt at purposely failing a school vision test, I moved on to other ways at getting a prescription for a pair of black-rimmed frames. You see, I understood the sex appeal of the nerd long before Tina Fey and Johnny Depp. And the only thing separating me from that level of hotness was one mediocre ophthalmologist.
I was in desperate need of an eye doctor who understood my pain. One that would accept a bribe of old Barbie dolls, 367 pennies and my first tooth, so that he in turn would convince my parents that my vision had suddenly turned from 20/20 to 19/20.
Unfortunately, I knew no such doctor. So, I took it upon myself to damage my eyesight. Wearing my dad’s bifocals was just the primer. I would seek out the reading glasses section of every drug store, supermarket and department store my mom would drag me to and put on six or seven pair of glasses at the same time while strolling through the store. The bruises and scratches from bumping into displays and shopping carts were well worth the pain, considering the outcome was going to give me Palin-like looks.
At school, I tried blurring my vision when reading. I also squinted as much as possible, to catch the attention of the teacher, hoping she had the power to override the doctor’s diagnosis of perfect eyesight. But, all that got me was a front row seat in class. At home, I watched TV an inch away from the screen and read my Archie comics in the dark.
Still, the eye chart was the only spelling bee I won. Every year.
This torture went on throughout junior high and high school. In ninth grade I agreed to glamour shots, only because the photographer supplied me with Harry Potter-like glasses that were as fake as my ID that stated I was 28 and 5’7”.
In college, I took to sunglasses in the hopes they would fill the void on my face – and my heart. I wore them everywhere. During the day. At night. In class. While discussing Walt Whitman. I wore them in a dark sound booth while broadcasting my radio show and I wore them while having sex.
It wasn’t until decades after the start of my obsession, however, when my computer monitor began to blur.
I couldn’t believe it. After all those years, it was happening. I was losing my eyesight. It was the equivalent of finally getting my period or having enough material to fill an A-cup bra. I couldn’t see a thing. And I couldn’t be happier.
The adrenaline-high of finally failing a routine eye exam led me to buy the most adorable Chanel black-rimmed glasses with a white flower over the left eye that had ever existed in a Lenscrafters display case.
I wore them everywhere. During the day. At night. At work. While driving. I wore them while at a Madonna concert, even though I was in the nosebleed section and I wore them while having sex.
They traveled with me everywhere I went. Until they were stolen. That’s right. Someone, either working solo or as part of a band of thieves, with insane nerd-envy took my most precious glasses. Considering the location and circumstance of where I was at the time they went missing it would seem as if it could have been either a jazz lover or a lesbian or both. It’s hard to believe that a person that indulges either their ears or their mouths in the multiple layers of sweet boogie-woogie would do something like this. But, they did. And they did this to another jazz lover and/or lesbian. Not that I would condone this type of behavior geared to another group, but nerd on nerd crime is super wrong.
So now, after all these years, I once again find myself squinting at the computer screen. I’m reading an inch away from the page. This time because I really can’t see. And now I’m adjusting the imaginary legs on the side of my face because I got so used to them. (I’m talking about the legs on glasses; of course, I think they’re really called temples.) As a temporary fix, I’ve tried using reading glasses from the drug store, but, they’re not the same.
So, to the jerk that stole my glasses, I can only hope your intentions were to give those Chanels to a poor, fashionably challenged grandmother in East Los Angeles. But, even you were guided by more devious thoughts, well, I have to thank you just the same. Thank you for making me feel like a kid again…an eccentric child, really, but still a kid.