Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Beginning of the End

I know that some people may be frightened at the title, "The Beginning of the End" but I'm afraid I may be understating things. You see, for the first time since October of my 7th grade year, I have broken my glasses. Well, I haven't really 'broken' them per se, but I did hear an unfamiliar "clink" as I rolled out of bed this morning. (The phone was was Nature...she was calling me.) I'm accustomed to not reacting rashly when there are unknown sounds or feelings. Not shoving that drill bit case to where it should be all willy nilly because I felt something touching it that I couldn't see saved me an hour of picking through broken baby food jar glass to separate 300 various washers from rubble. Waiting to see if the vacuum cord is just a little tangled instead of dragging on something saved me from knocking down one of the wine glasses we got as a wedding present. And this morning, exploring the floor gingerly in the dark by gently moving my hand back and forth over the carpet before I lumbered off to the bathroom saved me from having to re-enact the BB gun seen in A Christmas Story where Raphie twists his into oblivion while he walks around in the snow after shooting his eye out. Side note: I sleep in a pink bunny costume most nights so it would have been adorable to watch on that secret reality show that is watching my every move via remote control cameras...True Story.

I mentioned 7th grade earlier. That wasn't because that was the first time I had broken my glasses, it was the first time I had worn glasses. I was taken away during school to a room for a vision screening. They had me read a poster that had the least inspirational message I had ever seen. I think it was in Latin. E, AI, POH, after that it was all a blur. I'm sure it says something like, "If you can't read this, go to the optometrist" but I never researched to find out. My parents took my sister, my brother, and me to Ronald H. Sand to see if I needed glasses. My sister lucked out, no glasses. My brother and I got to pick out our own frames. After what seemed like three and a half months while they mined the basic materials needed to make two pairs of little boy frames, I suspect from somewhere in the mountains of Nepal where all raw materials need to be smuggled out of the country between the toes of a Yak, we waited for our spectacles. He chose gold metal frames that made him look like a miniature John Denver. My silver teardrop shaped frames made me look like I'd picked out glasses while not being able to see anything. (note to parents: If the pudgy little love of your life has the cutest little chubby NOT let him choose teardrop shaped glasses. His high cheekbones will thank you.)

I learned, from watching middle child Jan The Brady Bunch, that having to get glasses was the worst thing that could ever happen to a kid...and I was off to junior high school, where everybody is kind differences are celebrated. I was happy to learn that life rarely imitated The Brady Bunch (even though I am a middle child...but let's not open up that can of worms) and I was largely ignored. That might also be that I prayed every night that absolutely nobody would notice that I was alive while in school and that the paneling colored clothing I wore would help me melt into the background. It was relatively soon after that this that a teacher pointed at me in class and said, "You, Garrett, you cussed me out and knocked over your desk before you ran out of the room! What are you gonna do when the principal calls you into his office?" Me (trying not to have a stroke from extreme embarrassment) squeaked out, "Tell him I didn't do it?" He bellowed, "WHO IS HE GOING TO BELIEVE!?" Even weaker than before, "you". "That's RIGHT! I will get believed so don't cross me!" I'm sure he was making a point...I think the point was that he was a bully and that I should be afraid every day I that I see him. But, happily, he never mentioned my glasses.

I went for years exchanging old glasses for new. Every time I was praised for not needing new ones before our insurance renewed (every two years) and I just kept plugging along...not bumping into things like buildings and aircraft carriers because I could see. At some point the doctor said that I was old and active enough to warrant getting a new style of glasses. They turned into sunglasses whenever I was outside. That was awesome! But the really interesting thing was that the new frames I got had springs that bent the arms to the side when in trouble. They could get knocked off my face in a game of basketball and they still wouldn't break! Now all I needed to do was learn how to play basketball and I would be all set!

After learning about the frames with the stretchy springs I felt invincible! I even toyed with half wire frames that looked like they were held together by magic...but (spoiler alert) were really held together by tiny little clear plastic cord that I also never broke. For a while I got two frames that were exactly the same and simply traded new lenses for old every other year. This way I didn't have to pay for new frames at all and if I needed to wear my 'back-up' pair because I had broken a pair (yeah right) then nobody would notice at all! I still had them all in a cabinet in my room until I saw something that said I could donate old glasses to help people in need. I put a handful of perfectly usable old glasses into the box and hoped that a lot of people thought they would look retro in my old, old glasses. They were out of my hands...and off of my face.

And then jump ahead to this morning. There I am blindly reaching around for what turned out to be my glasses on the floor. I suppose you could say I found my glass on the floor since I found only part of what normally resides on my face. I gingerly picked up the frame and felt that there was a significantly different feel to them. One of the lenses had popped out and there was an odd angle to the frame. Pieces moved that had never moved before. I quickly ran through last night's bedtime. I was pretty tired. I was reading something. I must have fallen asleep with my glasses on and they broke at the edge of the frame. They feel really bent out of shape and the pieces that aren't connected feel sharp like broken metal. Darnit. Turn 50 and everything starts to go to heck. Oh well, guess I wasn't really planning on using that birthday money on anything else anyway.

I tried turned on my phone as a flashlight and tried to find all the pieces I would need to make them work for the day while hoping that it had just come undone somehow. I had visions of crawling around the floor squinting and looking for the tiniest screw known to mankind with the world's tiniest magnifying lens. And while I am at it. What kind of a cruel irony is it that the people who can see the least are expected to manipulate the things that require the best vision...while working on the thing that helps them see better! But I digress....

 I decided to go out and examine the twisted wreckage in the some serious light and I found one of the greatest boons to mankind that I have ever seen. The frame had simply come undone and, yes, the screw is now embedded in the hinge. While employing my trusty Swiss Army knife and its glasses screwdriver that lives in the corkscrew I was able to mend my broken life and am bespectacled again.

So that's it. My record still stands! I am the king of not breaking my glasses! Now if I could only remember where I put them.