It took much longer than it should have, but I finally broke down and ordered my first pair of reading glasses yesterday.
I have been putting this off for years, as I fought a losing battle with small print by squinting, using a magnifying glass, or just flat out giving up and hoping to hell I hadn’t missed anything important.
I actually “lost” the prescription and had to request a duplicate from my doctor before finally parking my keister in front of the computer and making it happen.
It wasn’t easy. I’ve always had good vision, bonehead typos notwithstanding, and I was so proud of how I had staved off failing eyesight for so long.
But even I have to admit that things were getting bad. I’m holding newspapers up to my honker and cranking up the zoom on my computer until it looks like skywriting.
My eye doctor put it simply.
“You’re 58!” he declared, a little too loudly for my taste.
That said it all. Stop lying to yourself, cut the crap and get the goddamn specs. You’re old, grandpa, you’re old.
I probably wouldn’t have gone to the doctor had it not been for an annoying eye infection that wouldn’t go away and, naturally he checked out the state of my peepers and found them to be lacking.
My eye guy recently relocated to a building on Third Avenue that was once the home of a weekly newspaper where I had worked for two…hmm, what’s the word? Oh, yeah…miserable years nearly 30 decades ago.
It wasn’t a happy time for me and, of course I did my best to make it worse, bouncing from despair to resentment and anger to near self-destruction.
But I had been struggling for a direction and I found something close to it when I started working at this place. And I got to do some fun stories, like riding around with cops in Sunset Park and meeting some nice people, so it wasn’t a complete nightmare.
When I reached my doctor’s office I did a double take at the street sign. I saw that the block had been named in honor of the paper’s late publisher and my aging eyes nearly popped out of my head. They named a street after that guy? I fumed. What the hell did he ever do?
I knew I had vision problems but was I suffering from hallucinations, too? I suppose I could’ve raged on for the rest of the morning, but I did have a doctor’s appointment.
“This place was a mess when we got here,” the nurse told me. “We had to clean it all out.”
I’m not surprised. The Army Corps of Engineers would’ve probably needed a month to get through that hovel.
My doctor gave me a prescription for antibiotics to get rid of the eye infection and wrote up an order for reading glasses.
I felt relieved by the time I left. I was getting treatment for the infection and, more importantly, I had finally stopped lying to myself and admitted I needed glasses.
And I was feeling more charitable toward my past. If they wanted to name the street after my old publisher, so what? An additional sign on the lamppost wasn’t going to hurt anyone.
The old job is behind me; the place literally didn’t exist anymore, at least not at this location. It was time to do some cleaning of my own, flush out all that old grief and look forward.
I haven't gotten my glasses yet, but I think my vision is getting better already.