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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
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No glasses for me.

Did any of you grow up in the New York/Connecticut/New Jersey tri-state area and if you did, do you remember the “Get glasses, Alice” commercial? In which a woman walks into walls and throws herself down the stairs and trips over the dog, and all her husband can say is, “Get glasses, Alice”? And he says it over and over again? And then she obediently hops over to her local vision center and gets glasses and her husband says something asinine like, “Alice, you got glasses!” and instead of shooting him in the head, she just smiles? This commercial was on when I was in junior high. Imagine what everyone said whenever I tripped or fell or walked into things. Imagine that I tripped and walked into things pretty much every day. That commercial is BURNED INTO MY BRAIN.

My vision has always been just fine, which annoyed me, since I badly wanted glasses. In first grade I wore my sister’s glasses to school for a full week, stumbling around and pretending that at last, I could see. I don't know if this was because I wanted glasses or because I wanted to be my sister, who was ten years older and thus, the coolest being who ever walked the earth. I’m surprised I didn’t wear her bra to school the following week, exulting that finally my breasts were getting the support they needed.

I went to the eye doctor a couple of weeks ago because my eyes have stopped functioning. Within a few minutes of focusing on a computer screen or looking at paper with words on it, they simply give up. If I fight them back into focus, they tear violently, as if my computer were composed of onions. So now that my eyes were falling apart, all I could think was, all right! It’s glasses time for me!

Except no! Damn it, my vision is still breathtakingly perfect. I have fatigued my eyes to the point of total collapse, is all. All I have to do is stay far away from the computer until such time as I absolutely have to use it. (The optometrist did give me a prescription for reading glasses, but I got the distinct impression that he was handing me a pretend prescription so that I would feel like a grown up and get out of there.)

The problem is, I need to use the computer all the time. I have tried not to look at the screen, but it doesn’t seem to make much of a difference. In fact right now my eyes are closed! You’re amazed at this, but it’s the truth. Now they’re open, but I’m looking out the window. No one’s out there. Where does everyone go? I bet they all have jobs. Those jerks.

I need some way to wrap this up, so let’s pretend there’s a tidy concluding paragraph here, instead of this. I have to go remove my eyes with a grapefruit spoon and immerse them in a bowl of chilled rainwater.

Reader Comments (58)

I always wanted glasses too. In fact, when I was about in 6th grade there was a store in the mall that sold fake glasses that just had plain glass in them, and I bought a pair and wore them to school. And then everyone made fun of me, so I stopped thinking glasses were so cool. Now I need reading glasses on occassion (when my eyes are really tired or when I'm driving at night they help too) and this sometimes thrills me to no end. I feel very cool with them on.

Gah! I am such a dork.
October 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJessie
Ouch, that was the most disturbing concluding paragraph ever.

I have glasses---my eyesight is slowly receding---I look dorky 9/10 of the time. Nothing to be jealous of here.
October 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterE
How weird. Does this mean you won't be making eyes at me at the next BlogHer conference?
October 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterKaren Rani
I too, have a closet crush on glasses. I too, wore fake ones which was met with annoyance from my teachers as I relished the moment they gave us reading material so I could look through my bag, loudly stating that I was BLIND without them, just BLIND.......I also wore men's workshirts with many strands of pearls, yep.
October 25, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjbeeky
Don't grapefruit spoons have those little pokey parts on the ends?

Perhaps a melon baller would be better for eyeball removal?
October 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLadyBug
Umm, maybe a new eye doctor? No, seriously. Yes, you have perfect vision, but maybe there's an underlying condition. My husband has something called "dry eye syndrome," which is horrible--he regularly describes the sensation of wanting to claw his eyes out. Anyway. An ophthalmologist (not an optometrist) may be able to help.

Either that or an ergonometric (is that right? No. ergonomic.) evaluation of your workstation. My screen is about 3 feet from my face. Maybe 4. And I have to say, it really helps. There are guidelines out there somewhere...Ahh, here's where I saw them.
October 25, 2006 | Unregistered Commenternate
You see, this is exactly why I never post. I write such entertaining posts, then when I get to the end I have no way of ending them with a quip or a funny antedote, so I simple delete the post. You have now given me blogging hope! I never had to have glasses as a child either, but at exactly 40 I went to the eye doctor because of the same issues - I couldnt see the typed page. I did need glasses though, tri-focals, oh, progressive lenses..umf.. I only wear my reading glasses though. They really are not all that much fun.
October 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJudi
It's just possible that reading glasses will help. I have age-related far-sightedness, and I started needing to use reading glasses for reading a few years ago. I wear them when I'm at the computer (all day) and they help a lot. In fact the other day I forgot my reading glasses and worked at the computer all morning and my eyes were blurry the rest of the day.

For me, the trick is to use the lowest power I can get away with. Higher-power reading glasses make my eyes more and more far-sighted (and the higher power, the closer to the screen you have to sit.) Right now I'm using 1.25.

Dry eye could also be a factor.

Hope your eyes feel better soon! Good luck!
October 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMargrit McIntosh
I can't imagine anything more frustrating!!! Will it go away, or is this permanent?
October 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJonathon
Now I don't feel weird for always wishing I wore glasses. I am still waiting patiently for my eyes to fail me. I also wish my husband wore glasses because this girl make passes at hot guys in glasses.
October 25, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjomama
I hate my glasses. If I didn't have to wear them I wouldn't.

I hope your eyes feel better.
October 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDana
We have plenty of chilled rainwater here. Come on down. It falls from the sky like that.
October 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMeg
I actually have those useless reading glasses, and believe it or not, they make a huge difference for me. You could always try a $10 pair from Target...
October 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJen
I'm only a little bit near-sighted, so I wear my glasses when I'm out and about, but often take them off as soon as I get home or when I'm just sitting at my desk at work. Yesterday, I was speaking to someone at work who had never seen me sans glasses before. She took one look at me, gasped, and said, "You're so beautiful! Wow, without glasses you can really see your face! It's fantastic!" So now I'm wondering (1) how I look the rest of the time (ugly?) and (2) if I should just dump the glasses and see the world a bit more fuzzily from now on. (I tried contacts once, but my eyes got too dry with them and I'd end up rubbing them out by late afternoon.)
October 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterALG
Sorry you don't get glasses. I always wanted braces, personally. I still don't need those either.
October 25, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterfoodmomiac
Do you have a CRT monitor or a flat panel? The flat panel has no refresh rate, so it's much easier on the eyes.

I've worn glasses since 4th grade... they're OK. You do have the annoyance of them fogging up when you come inside from the cold (no amount of cleaning will help). And your child wanting to play with them (and flex frames being outrageously expensive). And lenses that pop out. And frames breaking when you are 6 months pregnant and then you have to worry about whether the hormones changed your prescription so you'll have to shell out twice in ten months, but you need glasses because your old ones are REALLY old and make your head hurt... shall I continue? %)
October 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterChrista
It's always spooky to come here and see how you've climbed into my head, arranged certain of the memories therein into amusing and well-written anecdotes, and then retreated to the eastern seaboard.

I truly thought I was the only person in the world who *wanted* glasses but did not need them. In grad school, after reading several thousand pages per week, I finally did need glasses--just barely. I was so happy the day I got them. My fiance-now-husband, who is practically legally blind, put them on and just laughed. He said there couldn't be a prescription in those lenses. And you know what? Just a few scant years after completing the M.A. in eyestrain, my perfect vision was back. I no longer need glasses--again. Still, I keep them around when I want to look smart, which, in Montana, is pretty much never.
October 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterNicole
I second the ergo evaluation. I had eyestrain issues at work that went away after I got better lighting and some other stuff I don't remember, but it worked. I was having headaches, and my eyes would just cross after a few minutes, they were so pooped.
October 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterWendyP
What is with the glasses envy? It's like some kind of weird fetish I've never heard of! I would give anything to get rid of mine (which I've had since I was five years old). I am completely helpless without them ... can't even walk across a room. I would love to wake up in the morning and be able to see the clock without fumbling around for my glasses. Also -- hello, prescription sunglasses are outrageously expensive! And then you have to carry TWO pairs of glasses around, and try not to lose or break whichever pair you're not wearing. Do you appreciate the joy of putting on sunglasses when needed, and removing them when not, and not having to worry about anything else? (I'm not being snarky, just a smart-ass -- in case that hasn't translated.)

I wonder if this is one of those "curly-haired-people want straight hair, and straight-haired-people want curly hair" things. I never knew so many people wanted glasses...

Regardless. I hope your eyes are feeling better soon!
October 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterShasta
Yay, glasses! I love to see the glasses love. I wear glasses, and I love them. I hate it when people ask me if I plan on getting contacts - as if there was something wrong with wearing glasses. Crazily enough, I actually like the way I look with glasses, and much prefer it over poking myself in the eyes every morning.
October 25, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterladyfunk
Go to the dollar store! You can buy various strengths, all for a buck a pop. Think Fred Sandford with drawers full of glasses...
October 25, 2006 | Unregistered Commentermary
Would using a keyboard (like an alphasmart) help?
October 25, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterreluctant housewife
Mph, yeah, I just turned 30 and my eyesight is still annoyingly perfect. Everyone around me gets to accessorize with these hot new frames or tortoiseshell sexy librarian glasses, and I HATE THEM ALL! A pox on their stupid glass!

Maybe you can get one of those screen filters, so your eyes won't get so tired. They're not very expensive and you can find them online...or maybe you should just go to the store and not look at the computer anymore. I shouldn't be enabling...sorry.
October 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJemima
I have your perfect solution: You just need to get yourself a scribe. Dictate away, baby!
October 25, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjuliloquy
I always wanted glasses too and had blastedly perfect vision.

And then? At age 40? It became hard to read the instructions on the infant tylenol and I worried about overdosing my child (or? underdosing her and not getting any sleep).

So I got glasses.

Exactly two minutes after I got them, I was so freaking dependent upon them I couldn't read the BILLBOARDS on the highway. OK, I exaggerate. It was three minutes and the billboards were OK but I couldn't read anything else, like the menus in restaurants (and dammit, I'm tired of ordering the chicken club just because it's on every menu - I want to READ again).

Anyway, my point (yes, I do have one) is that having a DEPENDENCY on glasses sucks. I'd much rather prefer the grapefruit spoon and chilled water route...
October 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJustLinda

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