Friday, August 21, 2009

New Glasses

Citizen K. paid an overdue and uninsured visit to the optician yesterday and discovered that he is in dire need of a new prescription. Which explains why he hasn't been reading much lately and probably why the quality of his blog entries has lagged. Hopefully in a couple of weeks, the miracles of modern optometry will work their magic on my fading vision and I'll be back to normal.

Whatever that is. I must say that having a wife to give thumbs up or down to the frame selection process makes it go quickly. I mean, Premium T. is the one who has to look at me more than anyone else, so I'm not about to buy something she doesn't like. We settled on a fresh look in short order, setting up the possibility of a completely new me. I'll try not to let it go to my head.

The optometrist I see has a strong repeat business and recognizes that his clientele is aging. His selection runs the gamut from "business attire" to age-appropriate with (hopefully) a bit of an edge. At least that's how I see it (or will, once the new prescription arrives). My 22-year old son -- who used to shop there with good results -- found nothing, whereas I still get to winnow down from a half dozen serious options.

Those of you not cursed from birth with poor vision don't grasp what a significant social development frame design has become. Once, one had to hide behind one's spectacles. They optometrist looked you over, waved grandly at his minimal selection, and said, "Here it is, son: Nerd City. And you can live in any house there that you want."

Mercifully, my parents never made me live in the Nerd City slums: The unbreakable plastic black frames that bent and twisted, able to withstand any contortion dreamed up by the puerile, fertile, and febrile imagination of an 8th-grade boy and his friends. (As it turned out, those frames really couldn't be broken, despite some awfully creative efforts to the contrary. Petroleum byproducts are powerful things.) Those frames -- which went handily with buck teeth -- ruined many an otherwise perfectly decent appearance, consigning their victims to a junior high existence without girls, who never seemed to wear the female equivalent.

I was the first kid in my class (circa 1968 or '69) to wear wire frames. In South Texas, I caught no end of grief for adopting the hippie look, especially since I wasn't especially hip: I was just tired of brown plastic frames and wanted something different. My parents sympathized, and so I chose the one pair of non-aviator wire frames for sale by Kingsville's only optometrist. Looking back, they were no doubt hideous, although I did strike a blow for something (still not sure what). A year later, of course, everyone who wore glasses had switched to the wire look. Now, plastics are back in, only this time with some design sensibility. Go figure.

Kids today don't have to put up with that particular bit of teen angst, a consummation I devoutly wished for my own son when he needed glasses even sooner than I did. He's been able to look sharp and fashionable his whole life, whether he knew he was or not. As for me, people often asked why I didn't wear contacts or get Lasik surgery. The answer is simple: I've been waiting my whole life for glasses actually designed to look good on a human face. Now that they're here, do you think I'd miss out on it?

What does a bleeding heart liberal look like? John Hayes says it was his Chief Petty Office father, for one...

Pantheon has published Josh Neufeld's A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge, a graphic novel about the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the lives of seven characters from all walks of life and parts of the city. More here...

Froma Harrop makes a case for the obvious: That it's time for the Democrats to go it alone on health care.
Every compromise President Obama offered in the name of bipartisanship was read as a sign of weakness. For Republicans, sticking it to the Democrats trumps doing what's good for the country. The heck with them.

Reforming health care should be both a liberal and conservative mission. Securing medical coverage for all Americans is the liberal part. The conservative part is containing the explosive rise in health-care spending, which fuels government deficits and hurts American business in the global marketplace.

Democrats will have to be both the liberals and the conservatives on health care...

E. J. Dionne writes that there's no place for guns at presidential appearances:

Try a thought experiment: What would conservatives have said if a group of loud, scruffy leftists had brought guns to the public events of Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush?

How would our friends on the right have reacted to someone at a Reagan or a Bush speech carrying a sign that read: "It's time to water the tree of liberty"? That would be a reference to Thomas Jefferson's declaration that the tree "must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

Pardon me, but I don't think conservatives would have spoken out in defense of the right of every American Marxist to bear arms or to shed the blood of tyrants.

Friday's Choice: Simon & Garfunkel sing "Homeward Bound" in 1966:

What a difference a year makes. From 1967:


sussah said...

That is so funny-- I spent 2 hours in the Eyemasters yesterday afternoon, almost gave up on the frames, but was helped at the last moment by a sweet patient young optician who ran around and found about 10 more pairs meeting my specifications. The trouble is, it's hard to get progressive bifocals into those cute shallow frames. But they will try. Also we are experimenting with the multi-focus contacts, no success yet but I don't want to give up before they order from every single company. sp, n.o.

Renegade Eye said...

I have the Elvis Costello look.

Roy said...

Ayuh! I hear you on the glasses thing. As somebody who's worn glasses since 1962, I feel your pain! Luckily, it's looking like my current frames, which I got probably 18 years ago or so, won't need to be replaced; they're made from some space-age metal that returns to its original position if bent. And they're what I loke to call style-neutral - you can't pin me to an era by looking at them. The lenses will probably have to be updated from time to time, but the frame looks to be there for good!

As for E.J. Dionne... Man, he nailed that one with a sledgehammer! Not that any of the wingnuts will get it.

willow said...

WT just got new glasses this summer. I went with him to help him choose the frames. I highly suggested the Martin Scorsese dark plastics. So cool.

Love-love S & G. Think I'll put one of my albums on right now...

John Hayes said...

I tried the Dionne experiment with one of our conservative friends yesterday--he kind of got it. Your post also reminds me of the time I picked out frames without my girlfriend at the time (this was before Eberle) along-- I had no idea glasses frames could be such a hot topic. They did not go over well!

Thanks as always for the support & the mention.

Cowtown Pattie said...

Simon and Garfunkel - they were so sweet and perfect. Many memories of my adolescent years are anchored with one of their songs.

Ima Wizer said...

I can't wait to see your new look! Do show!

Scrumpy said...

Unfortunately, I can't see the pics for some reason but I'm sure you and T made a stylish choice.

I still look like a nerd, no matter the frames. I am far sighted so my eyes look like big old bug eyes through my glasses. Being vain, I tend to only wear them when I read. (Regardless of the fact that this leads to headaches when I find myself doing un-intentional reading.)