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I can remember when I didn’t wear glasses. I could get in a car and drive. I could pick up a book and read. I could read the newspaper in the morning, not just the headlines. I could recognize people when they were more than twenty feet away. When I was in elementary school, we called the kids who wore glasses four-eyes. Invariably, they were always smarter than me. We had a pitcher on my ball team who wore glasses. We named him Cannon Ball Levy. He had a wicked fast ball. He either struck you out or knocked you out. Nobody ever called him four-eyes.

I probably lived more than half my life without glasses. But time passes and after a progression of drug store readers of increasing strength, I arrived at that stage where I needed prescription eyeglasses. Henceforth, I would now be known as Gilly four-eyes. However, I do not consider this an insult, as I am of the opinion that glasses give me a certain air of intellectuality. Maybe people will even think I’m smarter than they are.

It has been a life changing event in my relatively normal and happy life and the reason for this exposure. Consider this.

My days are now divided into four equal parts as listed below.

- 25% sleeping or various degrees thereof. Sleep is essential to good health. So is waking up.

- 25% eating, drinking, and enjoying all the physical pleasures that life gives us. Also, I take eight vitamins a day at the direction of my wife of 65 years. My doctor says they’re useless, but what does he know? My last two doctors are history.

- 25% exercise of one kind or another, doctor visits as a result of said exercise, and excessive indulgence of the above-mentioned pleasures. There is also reading, writing and, of course, Netflix.

- The last 25% is looking for my damn glasses.

This is not a frivolous matter. I am in need of distance glasses as well as reading glasses, which leads to sun glasses for reading and a pair for driving. Now it used to be, when I was in the drug store stage, I could buy multiple pairs for each room in the house. (Three pairs for 10 bucks at the Festival Flea Market, exit 69 off the turnpike.) Now with prescription glasses clocking in at $150 to $200, multiples are not an option.

I could drive without glasses, but I don’t like the odds. I tried bifocals to reduce the quantity I need, but they make me dizzy, and I’m dizzy enough. So, I am forced to read the paper, then switch glasses to watch TV. If I’m on the treadmill, I watch TV, but can’t see my blood pressure rise on the treadmill screen. Maybe that’s a good thing. Driving is the same; sunglasses by day, clear ones by night. Sunglasses on the beach entails a pair for reading and one for distance. These are invaluable for watching the bikini clad, beautiful women on the beach.

Now I could tolerate this were it not for the fact that I am incapable of keeping track of the location of my various glasses. I am constantly consumed with searching for the pair I need. I go from one room to another, counter to counter, drawer to drawer. Time passes. I am getting angry, more and more frustrated.

“What are you looking for?” Essie, my wife of many years asks, knowing full well what I’m after.

“My glasses, dammit!”

“What kind?”

“Reading.”

“Look in the bathroom.” It’s morning, and her assumption is founded in fact.

“Not there, looked everywhere. Can’t find em”

“Look in your robe.”

My robe. Good idea. Never thought of that. I rifle the pockets. Desperate, hoping. Dejected, I come up with nothing but lint in my fingernails.

“Forget it. They’ll turn up.” She says, not in the least concerned. “Get dressed already, go to the gym.”

I do as I’m told. I get dressed for the gym.

“I FOUND THEM” I yell, as if finding gold.

“Where?”

“Never mind”

“Where?”

“In my underwear drawer, must have fallen off the bureau.”

She is laughing.

This is my life nowadays. But, it’s no big deal. I look at it this way. If you get to be 89 and you’re still vertical, if you go the gym and look at pretty girls on the beach, if you read the New York Times in the bathroom and really get pissed off at the president, and if you love your wife and family and friends, then you are home free my friends, even if they call you four- eyes. Besides, they’re probably jealous because you’re smarter than they are.


Gil Herman is a student in Kathie Klarrich’s writing class at the KB Community Center, which is now meeting via Zoom. For more information and class schedule, click here.

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