I remember well when I was a kid, those sleight-of-hand magic tricks that were always accompanied by the words “now you see it, now you don’t”. Even up close my eyes would deceive me as the silver dollar was in the hand, and then suddenly it wasn’t.
Now that I’m a few years past the half-century mark I have a better application for “now you see it, now you don’t”. Eyesight. Sure, a lot of things go south as you get older, but with the eyes you just don’t see it coming. Before you know it you’re a regular squinter. No more 20/20 for you. Your vision is waning.
In all fairness I never had perfect vision to begin with. I was born with a lazy eye and wore glasses from an early age. I sported a pirate patch for a couple of years to force the lazy eye to work harder – didn’t get me any girlfriends. When I switched to soft contacts in high school it was like I’d buried the secret of my imperfect vision forever.
Fast-forward another thirty years. During a routine visit to the eye doctor the question was posed, “do you wear reading glasses?” I remember kind of puffing up my chest as I said, “no, I do not wear reading glasses”. At that, the doc glided back in his chair, grinned at me and said, “well, you will soon”. And I’ll be damned if he wasn’t right. Within a year I was shopping for readers at my local drug store.
Keeping things in focus has evolved to a constant adventure. When I first bought reading glasses I kept them in that place where you think they’ll be whenever you need them. Wrong. Very quickly I discovered it made more sense to buy a half-dozen readers and just leave them all over the place. I put a pair in the car, one by the bed, another in the bathroom, a fourth in the home office, and a fifth in the family room. That fifth pair even travels to the kitchen and laundry room every now and then.
Speaking of the laundry room, reading glasses have become an essential for clothing labels. I can find the label all right but I better have my readers and some bright light if I expect to read the label. Trust me; f you’re not in focus your brain can convince you that “let hang dry” actually reads “tumble dry low”, and the next thing you know your wife’s sweater goes to charity as a gift for a small child.
In my home office I’ve graduated to two pairs of reading glasses, because my waning eyesight decided I needed the 1.0 prescription for the computer monitor and the 2.0 for the printed word. So that’s me in the office, flip-flopping readers every time I glance from the computer to the page. Please find me some bi-focal reading glasses.
Here’s a genius idea for modern times: flat, bendable readers for your smartphone. They live in a little pocket that sticks to the back of your phone, just waiting to come out to help you see all those tiny pixels. They don’t have the side supports that go back to the ears, but just pinch/perch on your nose. I snapped up a pair at Target the moment I found them. Sure they look funny but so does squinting to read text messages.
I just moved into a pair of bifocals. Doc said dry, aging eyes will eventually reject my contact lenses, so I’m trying the two-for-one approach. Above the line gets you driving eyes; below the line gets you reading eyes. For your sake I hope I never put them on upside down.