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Coming clean

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On the whole, I’m a much better kid than any of my siblings. They have been nothing but a constant source of worry and sorrow for my parents for as long as I can remember, where as I have been pretty much a complete angel all of my life. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

However, there is one ugly situation from my past I feel the need to get off my chest. So here goes ...

I have been a proud, glasses-wearing American since the fall of 1975 when I was in the fourth-grade. I got my first pair of glasses on a Saturday morning, and they were broken by Thursday afternoon. Those are the cold, hard facts that cannot be disputed. However, the events leading up to that fateful Thursday afternoon have been somewhat fuzzy to most of the civilized world. Until now.

My friend (I’ll refer to him as Rob because, well … his name is Rob) and I were playing a mean game of football in Rob’s front yard following a Cub Scout meeting. Rob’s mom and my mom were the den mothers for us and a group of our classmates who wore the yellow neckerchief with pride.

When we started the football game following our weekly Cub Scout meeting that Thursday, the den was divided up into even teams. As the other moms arrived to pick up their boys, the teams got smaller and smaller. After a while it was only Rob and I who were left. This situation limited both sides to primarily a run-style offense, which was too bad because I could catch the ball a lot better since I could actually see it with my new spectacles.

On one particular play when I was on offense (I believe that it was a sweep to the right), I finally broke loose. As I was headed toward the end zone, I must have started my celebratory Walter Payton high-kick a little too soon because Rob caught me from behind. In what would be an obvious horse-collar penalty in today’s game, Rob took me down. As we both tumbled across his front yard, my 5-day-old glasses flew from my head. Everything seemed to be in slow motion as the plastic frames arced across the late-afternoon October sky.

Untangling ourselves from the two-person pile-up, I scanned the ground for my new glasses. The thing is, when you don’t have your glasses on, it’s impossible to really “scan” much of anything. However, when you’re blind as a bat, your other senses kick into overdrive. Just like my keen sense of hearing did when I heard the faint crunch of plastic under my royal blue Pro-Keds shoe.

Rob and I stood there staring at the ground, where my glasses laid in three different pieces. My mind had gone into full freak out mode as I tried to figure out how I was going to tell Mom what had happened. Visibly shaking as shock took over my body, I asked Rob what I should do.

Rob looked at me and said “My Dad has this bottle of glue ...”

It was just like the scene in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” when Spicoli says he can fix the car with his Dad’s “awesome” set of tools. Rob and I took this supposedly super strong glue into the bathroom and went to work. Rob did most of the repair work as I lay in the fetal position by the toilet uttering “Glasses … broke … glasses … broke …,” over and over again.

After a few minutes, Rob gingerly handed me the plastic frames and told me they were as good as new. I inspected them and half-heatedly responded “Yeah, sure.”

It was a quiet ride back home that night because I didn’t want to bring any unnecessary attention to my bespectacled face. I also didn’t want to move any of my facial muscles as the binding agent in the glue dried. So far so good I thought. In the darkened car, Mom didn’t seem to notice anything was amiss. I thought that maybe I could pull this ruse off.

Even as we sat around the supper table that night, my family was oblivious to my repaired glasses. I was actually starting to breathe a little easier when I asked my mom to pass me the salt.

She had a funny look on her face, or maybe I should say that she had a “fuzzy” look on her face. At least out of my right eye anyway. For when I looked down at my plate, there was the right lens to my glasses, laying in my green beans.

I don’t remember much after that. I’m pretty sure I went into some diatribe about how cheaply these glasses were made and that our optometrist shouldn’t order anything from that company ever again. I was just trying to throw my parents off the scent.

To my surprise, neither of my parents got very upset with me that night. I think they realized that things like this happen when you have a near-sighted 9-year-old boy under your roof. Plus, I think that they thought it was funny that their youngest was giving a heated lecture about the shoddy workmanship that takes place in third-world countries while a string of glue swung from what was left of the frames that were still on my face.

So with a cleaner conscience, I would like to wish my mom a happy Mother’s Day. Her and Dad did a lot for our family, and for that I am forever grateful. Thanks for getting me to where I am today, and I sincerely apologize for all the stuff that my brothers and sister put you through.

I’m glad I’ve finally come clean about the Great Glasses Incident of 1975. I think there is one thing we can learn from this tragic event: It was all Rob’s fault.

Wow. I really do feel better getting that off my chest.

You can contact Wallace at gwallace@bcrnews.com. You can follow him on his blog at http://gregwallaceink.blogspot.com.

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