Hiya folks. How ya goin’, mate? as they say in Oz. Just so you’ll know, this post does not involve coming out of the closet. Sorry to disappoint you. It’s about being legally blind. I mean, I can see with glasses, but without them? My eyes are toast. I don’t mean literally. You know what would have been gross? If Oswald, after gouging out Gloucester’s first eyeball in Shakespeare’s King Lear (“Out, vile jelly!”), had handed it to Regan and she’d taken a bite out of it.
“Hmmm, could use a dash of salt, guvnah.” (Pardon my lousy Regan imitation. Got to brush up on my Shakespeare.)
One of the worst things about being in your forties–and it’s hard to choose the absolute worst one, to paraphrase Edgar in the same play–is that your eyesight dwindles and deteriorates like a flickering campfire after everyone’s gone to sleep in their tents. My eyesight sucked to begin with–I could barely even make out the lenses of my glasses while I was wearing them–but now, forget about it. I can’t see shit–even if someone throws a great big handful of the stuff in my face. I can smell it all right, and it has a distinctive taste that’s hard to describe; hmmm, let’s see. . . Well, it, ahm–tastes like shit!
Now I know you’ve got better things to do with your subscription to the magazine that is Life than read about coprophagia, and the egregiously antisocial act of pulling someone’s eyeball out and biting into it in front of him, so I’ll get my fingers moving across the key pad and make it snappy.
My older brother, who’s been much cooler than I am since birth, now has a pair of reading glasses. The funny thing is when he puts them on, he’s still cool. Maybe if I buy a pair, I can be as cool as he is. Fat chance. I don’t think he’ll let me. Coolness, like beauty and genius, are finite resources and we can’t all be lucky enough to have them. Einstein had genius–or was a genius (that sounds grammatically safer to say)–but he also had a crazy hairstyle. It might have even been wilder than his brainstyle.
Of course, you could argue that that was the coolest thing about him, and I wouldn’t go out of my way to beat you up. I simply don’t have the time, the wherewithal, the strength, or the inclination.
Barack Obama has a reputation for being cool, even though he’s a tad trigger-happy with the old Predator drone-arinis, if you know what I mean. This, in my view, disqualifies him from being cool. He’s managed to bump off too many innocent people, whether accidentally or not. Mind, if he took out Mel Gibson with a Reaper drone, I might be able to forgive him on Christ’s behalf. Jesus told me he was pissed off at Mel for bringing back so many unhappy memories to the immortal J. C. with The Passion of the Christ, which I heard was a cool movie if you’re a fan of horrific, gratuitous violence inflicted on innocent saviors of all humankind.
Since I live in a city with excellent public transit, I don’t need to drive a car. Technically, I can get by without wearing my glasses in public, as long as I don’t mind everything looking like a Pissarro painting. (I wonder if he got teased for having “piss” built into his name. I guess the Italians have a different slang word for “urine” and “micturate”.) My wife likes to hold hands with me when we walk down the street, but that’s about as far as our physical contact goes these days. Needless to say, it’s hard not to have a roving eye when you see so many bodacious babes in mini-skirts. To call them mouth-watering would be an understatement. Sublime is more like it.
And yet, it’s degrading to have your attention pulled here and there by so many fine female forms and figures, not to mention phenomenal faces. Besides, I’m a pudgy, middle-aged foreigner with purple crescents and iguana-esque crosshatchings of wrinkles under my eyes, not to mention a bulbous nose and streaks of white hair at the temples. What the hell would they see in me, besides a potential stalker who’s ogling them and might need to be apprehended by a bodyguard named Heinz (kudos to Monty Python and my friend Bruce for that one, not to mention John Kerry’s ketchup-chugging frau)?
So sometimes–admittedly very rarely still; after all, I’m only human–I take my glasses off while riding the subway or the bus. Then the people around me become colorfully blurry. Ironically, since I have blue eyes, which are something of a novelty item in Korea, my face might be more attractive to one of those feminine masterpieces of nature or God I can no longer behold, deprived of the spectacles that enable me to appreciate her spectacular beauty, but my vitreous orbs are rendered so useless I can’t even tell if she’s looking at me or at some K-pop-singing ladyboy on her smart phone. Or I might put my glasses back on quickly only to find it’s a man, or a poster of a model on a skyscraper, or a container ship that somehow got re-routed into rush hour traffic, or the surface of the sidewalk and an empty bottle of soju.
These days I also have to take off my glasses in order to read, or peer over them with a pretentiously avuncular air. I have to hold the book about an inch away from my nose in order to see the goddamned thing. If my allergies start acting up, I can use it as a handkerchief. Snot makes a great bookmark.
Then there’s that other kind of myopia–my opia is your opia–or Europia–the kind that says, “Out of sight, out of mind.” This is the same force that leads people to ignore current events, ongoing social injustice, the victories of the criminal classes, the madcap destruction of the ecosystem.
The one nice thing about desertification is that it accommodates a lot more people when everyone wants to hide his or her head in the sand. Pretty soon maybe we can hide the rest of our bodies there too.
And those of us who spend our whole lives chasing after appearances won’t even need glasses to see through them anymore!
That’ll be neat as heck, won’t it?