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Column

Blinded by the light

I don’t like going to doctors. Never have, never will. It’s nothing personal, but personally, whenever I see one, they find something wrong with me. I don’t need that. I can find enough problems on my own. That goes for all doctors who want to poke, prod, probe any and all parts of my body up to and including: Stomach, chest, shoulders, elbows, eyes, ears, nose, throat, ankles, knees, hips and … you know … other stuff.

All of that having been said, I visited the eye doctor the other day. I knew it was time. Heck, I knew that it was time 10 to 15 years ago, but I’ve been busy. I’m just starting to get a little tired of peering over the top of my glasses to read stuff. Books, magazines, newspapers, computer screens, stop signs, billboards, etc.

Out of all the medical practices, the eye doctor freaks me out the least. But there are still parts of the exam I hate. I don’t like the part when I’m looking through the eye gizmo thingy at the little line of letters, and the doctor is flipping between lenses, and I have to tell him which one appears clearer. “Is No. 1 better or is No. 2 better?” he’ll ask. After doing this for awhile, they all looked alike, and I just blurted out random yeses and nos. I’m pretty sure he knew that I had lost interest in his little game.

He informed me it was time to get some “progressive lenses.” That’s the newfangled way of saying “bifocals.” I had held out for as long as possible from getting those things because they have always looked like a pain in the butt to me. That might be the main reason I haven’t seen an eye doctor since George Bush was president. I can’t remember which one.

Before I left, the doctor had to put drops in to dilate my eyes. He said it was so he could get a better look at the back of my eyeballs. I think it was because he knew I was screwing with him on the “Is 1 better than 2?” part of the examination. He told me I might want to stay out of bright lights for the rest of the day. Being the macho kind of guy I am, I audibly scoffed at his warning and said not to worry, I’d be fine. He just smiled and shook his head as I exited the room.

My wife and daughter accompanied me that beautiful Saturday morning in order to help me pick out new frames. They were afraid to let me pick anything out on my own without any adult supervision. To this day, I still catch grief about the glasses I was wearing in our wedding photo. By certain standards, the frames on those glasses might have been a wee bit on the large side. The amount of glass in those frames was roughly equal to the amount of glass in the windshield of a Volkswagen Beetle. Elton John owned a similar pair back in the 1970s. When I tell people it was the style back then, they just smile and shake their heads.

They found some nice frames (at least that’s what they tell me, I couldn’t tell because I didn’t have my glasses on), and we got them ordered. As I left the eye doctor’s office, one of the ladies that worked there handed me this piece of dark plastic that was cut into the shape of glasses. It was designed to fit under my present frames and act as sunglasses. I laughed and tucked them in my shirt pocket, telling her I probably wouldn’t need them. She just smiled and shook her head as I opened the door to leave.

Little did I know that just on the other side of that polarized-glass door, I would be staring directly into the giant, brilliantly radiant, white and yellow orb that is the earth’s sun. Eyeball dilation stinks. I couldn’t get to that dark little piece of plastic in my shirt pocket quick enough. I followed the sound of my daughter’s laughter as I felt my way along the side of the building to the passenger side of the car. Evidently my new sunglasses weren’t “stylish” enough for her. As for my wife, well, I imagine her shadowy visage just looked at me, smiled and shook her head.

She asked if we could do some shopping while we were in town. I looked toward the direction in which her voice was coming from and nodded. I was hoping the store was going to be darker than the bright, sunshiny day everybody else was apparently enjoying. It was, but not by much. Have you ever noticed how many lights are inside one of those big-box stores? A lot would be the answer to that question. Especially when you’re too proud to wear the silly little piece of plastic the smiling, head-shaking lady gave you at the eye doctors office.

Well, I’m getting tired of looking over these old, trusty, unifocal lenses to write this, so I guess I’d better wrap it up. Tomorrow I go to pick up the new glasses, and I’m sure the stylish, fashionable frames with space-age progressive lenses will open up a whole new, bright and shiny world to my now undilated, itty-bitty pupils. At least I hope so, considering I probably won’t see these people for another 15 years.

Eat your heart out Elton John.

You can contact Wallace at gregwallaceink7@gmail.com. You can follow him on his blog at http://gregwallaceink.blogspot.com.

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