An Ode to My Spectacles


Here’s the story of squinting, a pretty optometrist, and Mike.

I don’t know if it’s acceptable to squint during an eye exam. Sure, the optometrists of this world advise against it, but surely an eye exam is all about testing one’s eyes. We all squint in our day-to-day lives. I mean, they ask you to read a passage from a book, an average, every day activity. “Now, can you read that – imagine it’s the number on the bus.” “I can if I squint.” “Well, yes, but…” Surely ‘squinting ability’ should be part of an eye exam. Needless to say, I failed my latest eye exam pretty badly. “I have never met anyone so young and so short sighted,” the optometrist told me. It’s not… great news is it? I knew I was in trouble when I couldn’t see those damn hot air balloons. “STOP SQUINTING!” she shouted…

Still, at least she didn’t put her grubby mitts all over my lenses. I hate it when you go to the opticians and they take your glasses off you and handle them with about as much care and attention as a dog would looking after a toddler. “Oh, I’m sorry I put my fingerprints all over your glasses, sir. I do apologise, but it’s not my fault.” “OF COURSE IT WAS – THEY’RE YOUR BLOODY FINGERS, AREN’T THEY!”

The optometrist was a lovely and very pretty young lady. They always are. I go there every two years, and every two years, a new pretty young lady. Always blonde, always with blue eyes, always with the same perfume. I’m beginning to think Specsavers have one really great optometrist and they just cloned her and shipped out the clones to stores the world over. “We are the Specsavers Clones – you must clean your glasses regularly.” It’s a great business model. What? I think it is…

It does make you wonder where all the old optometrists go. I mean, they must go somewhere, right? Maybe a farm upstate somewhere. You know, the one where Bonny, your childhood dog, went. I wonder if optometrists are in short supply. Might need to put another penny in the clone machine.

It’s not like the dentist surgery, is it? I’ve had the same dentist since I was a baby. 26 years ago. Lovely chap. I like that. Like a remnant of the olden days. You had one dentist for life. One butcher. One optometrist. One doctor. One wife. Maybe. Familiarity breeds respect. “Ah, Alan, so you sorted out that tooth problem I told you about three years ago?” “Yup.” “So, Alan, tell me about the entire life story of your eyes.” “Oh, for God’s sake. I miss Clone 3…”

“Option 1 or Option 2. Option 3 or Option 4. And finally, Option 5… or Option 6. Or Option 7.” “Erm, can you give me those again, darling?” It’s not fun being pretty blind. A hundred and one options. Blinding lights being shone in your eyes. Having to look at a woman. I mean, I can’t even look at myself in the mirror. “Look right into my eyes.” “Okey-dokey.” It’s a bit creepy. Women hate you staring at them. So a friend told me.

The worst part is choosing one’s new glasses. I mean, sure, you try to add a bit of fun to it all by trying on stupid glasses that you’d never wear in a million years, just to make yourself chuckle. You might even venture over to the lady section and try on a pair of fetching bright pink ‘50s specs. They didn’t suit me, readers. They really didn’t. Although it did make me wonder if I’d be allowed to purchase a female pair. I remember when my mum tried to buy a pair of men’s jeans because all stores selling female jeans only have them in ludicrously small sizes. “Oh, they’re for you, madam? No, women can’t buy men’s clothes here.” 2010 that happened. Absolutely ridiculous. But since I’m a gent, I won’t name and shame the store. That’s mean and cruel and not in my nature. But I can say this. Mum hasn’t gone back to Debenhams since…

It’s stupid picking new glasses. I can’t see anyway. And they bother you endlessly, too. “Do you like that design, sir?” “I… I’m not sure. I mean, I thought so, but then when I try them on, obviously, I can’t see them anymore.” “Ah. I understand. I’ll leave you to it.” “Thank you.” 10 seconds later. “Found a pair you like yet?” “Well, like I said 10 seconds ago, I can’t really see anything.” “Ah. Say no more, say no more. I’ll leave you to it.” 10 seconds later. “Nope, still can’t see anything.” 10 seconds later. “I STILL CAN’T BLOODY SEE, LEAVE ME ALONE! LEAVE ME ALONE!” 10 seconds later…

I like my new pair. Bit fancier than I’m used to. You know me. I’m a man of logic. My last 10 pairs all look roughly the same. Every time I need a new pair, I always say to the lady, “I want a pair that looks like the pair I wear now.” Black and simple. Some say I’m not an adventurous soul. Trust me, readers, if I had a choice, I wouldn’t even wear them. But since I can’t have a stranger fire lasers at my eyes, I’m stuck with them. For life.

We’ve been through a lot together in the last two years. You’ve been with me all over the world. You carry memories in those little black frames. The first time I held my first nephew, you were there. When I said goodbye to relatives, you were there, gathering my tears. And sure, you’re not with me in the bathroom, but that’s because only idiots wear spectacles in the bathroom. My dad wears them in the shower. Apparently. “Get’s them lovely and clean,” he says. Hmm…

Despite all this, you’ve been nothing but an utter and complete pain the arse. You’re covered in scratches. A strand of my long hair brushing over you leaves you all scratched and terrible. The tiniest bit of grit or dirt and there’s another bloody scratch. I can barely see out of them, anymore. And the worst of the worst – the cleaning. I spend hours and hours – sometimes up to three, at least four days a week, cleaning those bastard lenses. Scrubbing endlessly, with every type of cloth and cleaning implement you can imagine, and nothing, bloody nothing works! They’re utterly useless! They make me so damn angry! I was seriously tempted, on more than one occasion, to make a bonfire and throw them on it. If you or someone you know is about to take delivery of your first pair of glasses, get lasered or get contacts. Spectacles will ruin your life. Dates and dinners will have to be cancelled so you can clean. Meals will be missed. You’ll get to bed very late on many occasions. You’ll suffer migraines endlessly, because, despite your best efforts, you’ll never be able to get them clean. Mike, I will not miss you in the slightest. You can sod off for all I care.

That’s the name of my glasses, by the way. All glasses from Specsavers have a name on the inside frame, somewhere. Mine has the name ‘Mike’ on them. I should’ve known they would be trouble from the start. ‘Mikes’ are always trouble. My new pair is called ‘Pierre.’ Very posh. I don’t know why Specsavers does this. I can’t find out why online. My mum’s are called, and I swear this is true, ‘JR.’ No word of a lie. Nobody’s shot them yet…

I hope things will be better with Pierre. Mike made me miserable. Consider this an ode to my spectacles. An ode I now must end. And how do you end such a long relationship with a pair of glasses, I hear no one wondering. Goodbye, I guess, to my old, old glasses.

Thanks for ruining everything, you utter tarts…

American cartoonist, Cathy Guisewite (b. 1950), once said: “When life gives you lemons, squirt someone in the eye.”

Peace Out :|:

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To Contrive & Jive
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