No, you’re not seeing things; I’m wearing glasses now

imageIt all started a few weeks ago when my wife and I were watching a Japanese movie with subtitles. Being  that I’m the only one in the family who doesn’t wear glasses, I gladly explained to her that Lord Yushido had demanded, “A ferret army be dropped by helicopter upon my enima lesions!”

I’m no expert on early 1700s Japanese history, but I’m pretty sure Shoguns didn’t travel by helicopter. And the rest of that statement… I don’t even want to think about.

“When’s the last time you had an eye exam?” my wife asked, pressing pause and donning her glasses. “And by the way, it says, ‘A fierce army be delivered on horseback to break my enemy’s legions.'”

“Yeah, that makes more sense,” I said, and admitted I hadn’t had an eye exam since middle school. Did I mention I’ll be 50 in a few months? I’ve always prided myself on still having a full head of hair, being in relatively good shape and not needing glasses.

Thanks to Lord Yushido and his lesions, it seemed I might have to settle for two-out-of-three. As we arrived at the optometrist’s office the following weekend, I was still hopeful my eyes had just been tired lately. Or that I’d merely had a minor stroke.

We have teenagers at home, so it was possible. 

“Can you read the first line for me, Mr. Hickson?”

“Sure, G… 6… 8… 1…”

“Mr. Hickson, there aren’t any numbers on this chart.”

“Oh.”

As it turns out, after 16 years of staring at computer screens in the newsroom, my eyes need a little help when it comes to seeing more than 20 feet away. Can I drive without my glasses? Sure. Will I possibly miss my exit on “Poplar Street” because I thought it said “Panda Spanker?”

It’s possible.

While I don’t need glasses to function, there’s no arguing that wearing them allows me to see certain things more clearly. This bothered me at first. While it’s true I have some grey in my hair and beard that wasn’t there a few years ago — coincidentally around the time our kids became teenagers — I saw the need for glasses as the first real sign of aging. Was this the initial step toward turning in my rocker Tees for a rocking chair? Would I soon be eating dinner at 3 p.m. How long until I didn’t care about ear hair? Or basic driving rules?

I spent a few days in a slight funk until I realized something important: I’ve demanded a lot from my eyes over the years.

As a writer staring at words all day, every day.

As a photographer composing images and judging light conditions for more than 20 years.

As a chef for 10 years finely slicing and chopping everything but my fingers. Usually.

And as a firefighter for the last five years, searching for potential dangers in order to remain situationally aware.

After nearly 50 years, my eyes have earned the right to ask for a little help.

The other night, I was in the kitchen cooking when I looked to see my wife sitting at the diningroom table, reading something that made her laugh. I reached for my glasses and slid them on, watching her come into perfect focus. Though I could see her pretty well from the counter without my glasses, with a little extra help I could make out every  detail of her smile. The curve of her face. The way her cheeks rise the bigger she smiles. The way her nose crinkles when it’s something a little naughty.

I could get used to this, I thought.

Now, if I could just unsee Lord Yushido’s enima lesions…

 

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94 thoughts on “No, you’re not seeing things; I’m wearing glasses now

  1. Take heart, Ned. I had to start wearing glasses at 38. And, I can only see out of one eye, anyway. 😦 However, unlike you, I was thrilled to get them, because for me, if something is even the slightest bit out of focus, it drives me crazy.) So I loved my glasses, and still would, if my cataract surgery of 2 years ago hadn’t screwed up the one eye I can see out of! GAH! Now, glasses or not, there’s a big gray area in the center of my vision field. I’d simply love to put on a pair of glasses that would fix that.

    So. Everything is relative, and besides, you look MAH-velous in them! More learned. Possibly even like someone who’d be called “erudite.” (Professorial being far too staid for you.) So glory in your new eyewear, and enjoy watching from across the room, every time your wife smiles. You can’t go wrong with that.

    • Thanks, Marcia 😉 And you’re right, my wife’s smile makes the glasses totally worth it. Plus, I can take them off dramatically for emphasis at editorial meetings.

      • And if you want to look deeply worried about something, like for instance, how you’re going to answer 153,674,820 emails asking where to find one of those Election Edition Chock Full o’ Nuts cans, you can take your glasses off, close your eyes, and pinch the bridge of your nose. It will add a level of dramatic flair, such as hasn’t been seen since Mr. Rogers discovered a nest of mice in the pocket of his favorite cardigan, and had to fumigate his entire Neighborhood. You should start practicing the Ned Hickson nose-pinch, soon. The accumulated wisdom of my advanced years tells me you’re going to need to use it many times in 2016. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

      • You might not believe this Ned, but I don’t need glasses for close work any more. I have had glasses for 40 years and now I seldom have to wear them (just for long distance -like driving). Apparently this happens to some people with close vision issues – the eyeball ages into a shape that makes it more accurate. Ha! I’m so good I grew out of my glasses. ha! Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

          • Interesting comment by Paul. I’ve noticed over the last few years that my eyesight without my glasses has gotten better. I was nearly legally blind at the age of 12, so I’ve worn glasses pretty much my entire life, but now I find I can read a book or paper without glasses (and without putting the print up to my nose, and if I had to drive without glasses, I could do so – provided it was daylight and traffic was minimal. There are some advantages to growing old[er].

  2. I humiliated myself in front of the entire church one Sunday morning so jumped to (gasp) bi-focals (“transitionals” sound like I’m morphing into another species – feels like it). Best decision…except that Hubby followed suit and he’s transitioning into someone who could end up in the freezer (next to the guinea pig). Stressing about glasses also creates grey hair. Sorry.

  3. I burnt out my eyes while developing film in my 20s. My eye doctor told me the bright light I stared into while looking at the negative gave me my eye condition. Fortunately I only need to wear glasses when I’m working on the computer, or threading a needle or reading gum labels…no, wait. I need an eye phone–I mean an iPhone–to read some labels. Take a picture, zoom in…there, now I can read it.

    I’m approaching 50 and still have a full head of hair too; I’m thankful for that. And I can still carry a 120-pound goat more than 100 feet, so I can’t be in too horrible of shape.

    Admitting you need glasses avoids a lot of unpleasant incidents. My older brother was in denial. He ate green fuzzy muffins and rinsed his mouth out with his daughter’s Clearasil before he went to the eye doctor.

  4. Instinct and experience tell me your wife has already said so, but glasses do not diminish your hotness, and you know why? Because of everything you said about your wife. ❤

  5. Welcome to the club. Although I will admit that I’m envious that you can see clearly to about 20 ft. away. My clear vision ends about 10 inches from my nose (and has since I was a kid). I can read a book if I hold it a bit close (like when I lie in bed), but other than that, I can barely find my way to the bathroom at night without them. Congratulations on your new clarity!

  6. Nothing wrong with glasses, mate! I’ve been wearing them since I was about four and it’s never done me any harm! Well, apart from the spate of accidents during my teens when I somehow kept walking into lamp-posts…

  7. I like your glasses. As someone who began wearing glasses at the age of 3 and bifocals at 7, I really never had great vision. Now at the ripe old age of 46 I have cataracts. My doctor says that the good news is that i may only need glasses for reading, if i have the surgery. yay? 🙂

  8. Someone once described me as someone who wears glasses. I took it as the highest compliment. Now, I wonder if I can remember who that guy was. *couNedgh*….. yeah… it was good day that day.

  9. Ah, age. I’m 42, and the 2 experiences I’ve had that have made me feel OLD is A) getting my first mammogram (sucked), and B) being told part of the reason I have problem seeing -in addition to my other typical eye dysfunction – is I have “dry eyes.” Who the hell has dry eyes? Old people.

  10. Welcome to the sad, blurry club, Ned. My husband is just finally coming to grips with his own eyesight decline (I’ve been blind for years now). The great thing is his bad vision comes at the same time my appearance has taken a serious nosedive, so he still thinks I’m gorgeous. Silver linings.

  11. Hey, I’ve been wearing glasses since 6th grade when I couldn’t read the white board at the front of the class. It only really sucks when you have a headache or sinus problem and you got glasses sitting on your nose making it feel worse. But then again I have to wear my glasses. I’m near sighted, so I read without them, because it’s actually easier, but anything more than like a foot away is blurry. Definitely could not drive without them.

    But hey, now you can do that sexxy thing where you slowly take them off and shake your hair out… I’m sure your wife would love that 😀

  12. Yet, even though most of us have been able to clearly see the photos you post of yourself all these months (or years), we keep coming back, haha. More evidence of your skills as a writer. (To be fair, no pictures of guys do much for me, though.)
    My glasses used to work for driving AND reading; not any more. I can read fine without them (in good light). So I do this odd dance every day of: before lunch, taking my glasses off to do close work or read, then, after lunch, after my old eyes are awake enough to get contacts crammed in ’em, having to don reading glasses “to get me back to square one” so I can do close work and read.
    Here’s to many years of you not having to squint to see your wife smile.

    • Haha! I never thought about it that way. I suppose not having my WordPress site revoked after the red thong incident says something. Thanks for sticking with me, with or without your glasses.

  13. If you’re only getting them now, consider yourself lucky. You got 10 more years than I did without them. I can’t read anything closer than 5 feet to me without my “progressive” lenses, including my husband, which is great – because if I’m feeling lazy, I don’t have to close my eyes when I kiss him anymore.

  14. Welcome to 50 Ned. There are so many like you who scrunch their eyes, hold out a newspaper 5 feet in front of you, etc. to try and see better and admit the time has come. I began wearing glasses at 9! I was humiliated then as back then, 4 eyes was a popular term. In my early 40s I had bigger eye complications and began wearing bifocals. That was hard to digest. Gone were the option to wear concealing contact lenses, the gig was up.
    Gratefully bifocals aren’t of the olden day variety – coke bottles and a dividing line. My lenses are thing and lineless and only those who dare to try them on would know how blind I really am, lol. Trust me, it will pass. 🙂

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