Last week I made one more concession to impending old age. It was actually just one more step in the long journey that began at birth and leads ultimately to - well, we all know where. But for now, the malady of old age is not fatal; it is merely annoying.
They say that there are three sure signs of old age. There is forgetfulness. I can't remember the next two, but the first clue I had that I was getting old was when cute redheaded waitresses starting calling me "sir" before I even had a chance to begin the flirting process.
Then my hair started turning gray. Then it started turning loose.
Then I could grow hair out of my ears but not on my head.
And now? Bifocals.
Actually, trifocals - which are at least a third worse.
Yes, my friends - I have finally been forced to admit that carrying Dollar Store reading glasses around in my shirt pocket will no longer serve my needs.
I am becoming as blind as the proverbial bat but have been too proud to admit it - until now. Finally, however, after incessant nagging by my lovely wife, Lisa - as well as all three of my children - I made an appointment with the eye doctor. His prognosis was a foregone conclusion, of course, and for the past few days I have been dealing with what was described to me as an "adjustment period."
Some adjustment. I stumble around like a drunken sailor on shore leave while doing my very best imitation of one of those bobble head dolls while trying to figure out how to position myself to see near, far and in-between without becoming as dizzy as blonde twins getting off the tilt-a-whirl at the county fair.
In case you have yet to experience the joy of "progressive lenses," let me fill you in.
They are supposed to be a marvelous invention - bifocals without tell-tale lines - that allow you to see all objects, near and far, with absolute clarity.
Right. And Social Security taxes will never exceed 1 percent. Ben Franklin would be turning over in his grave if he could see me trying to get used to these blasted things.
I was fitted for my glasses by being placed in a chair under lights roughly half as bright as the sun and reading letters on a chart inside a machine while a very helpful lady in pink scrubs rotated a set of lenses back and forth, asking me with each rotation to tell her which lens was more clear than which other lens.
After about three rotations, I was so confused that I couldn't tell up from down - much less which lens made the letters more clear.
One week and a-half-grand later and my new life-changing glasses were ready.
"Wear them all the time," the lady told me, and my eyes would adjust right away.
I don't know exactly how long "right away" is, but it's more than 10 days, because that's how long I've worn them and I still can't figure out how to position my head to see.
When I am driving or trying to watch a ball game I have to keep my chin down on my chest and look through my eyebrows. And peripheral vision is a thing of the past. I have to point my nose at whatever it is I want to see. I went to a tennis match last week and my neck was sore for days.
Reading is great - as long as the overhead light is off - because I have to keep my head tilted up toward the ceiling in order to be able to read through the bottom of my lenses. Working on a computer? See the comment about bobble head dolls above.
The second worst thing about my new progressive lens glasses is when I am trying to talk to someone face to face. I have to hold my head just right to get them focused in and then if they move even one millimeter I have lost them. I need to take seasick pills just to have a conversation.
I said that was the second worse thing. The worst? Trying to check out people as they walk toward me in a crowd. Before I can lock in on someone and figure out who they are, they are already past me. I am certain that I offended hundreds of people at church Sunday by not recognizing who they were until it was too late to speak.
I am determined to stay with the glasses, however, at least until June. That's when I go on vacation. When I stroll down Myrtle Beach at high tide, however, there are certain things that I aim to see.
Darrell Huckaby is a local author and educator. He can be reached at dHuck08@bellsouth.net.