, Corbin, KY

July 11, 2013

The better to see you with

The Times-Tribune

CORBIN — While this photo over here doesn’t show it — I wear glasses.

I’ve had the things since the fourth grade, when Miss Barker’s handwriting on the board started getting fuzzy.

And what a first pair of glasses.

I had a lot of trouble seeing both far away and close, but especially far away. So I first was prescribed bifocals.

Now, these days there are plenty of affordable options for “no-line” bifocals, but then I had the half-moon spectacles.

I couldn’t tell you how long I had them, but they were kind of heavy on my face.

We were doing something in class, and I had my glasses sitting on my desk. (As I type this, I can hear my mother saying “they should have been on your face.”)

They got knocked off — and one lens broke.

I was scared to death because I knew they should have been on my face, and that would likely get me in trouble.

But not mentioning it before we nearly were home was worse — but that was far from the first pair of glasses to bite the dust in my “care.”

It goes without saying that I do not have a pair of glasses to fall back on if the current pair breaks.

I have destroyed every pair of glasses I have ever had.

Once I was driving down the interstate at night, and the window was cracked about five or six inches. I couldn’t tell you what interstate, or where I was going, what I was doing, but I can tell you what happened next.

I looked over my shoulder to see if anybody was in the passing lane so I could pass a tractor-trailer — and the wind sucked my glasses off my face and out the window.

I could hear them sliding along the interstate as I was slowing down to pull onto the shoulder.

I slowed down, and tried to judge how long it took me to stop — then backed up in the emergency lane.

I got out of the car, and vainly looked in the dark for my glasses — but could see nothing.

I saw a car coming — and it’s headlights lit up the roadway.

And like tennis fans watching a match, I followed the beam trying to spot my glasses.

I probably looked like a complete lunatic doing that, but it paid off — they were sitting in the dotted line dividing the lanes.

I had to wait for a dozen or more cars before I could rush onto the freeway and retrieve my errant specs.

They were scratched, but wearable.

They, too, eventually bit the dust, but I can’t remember how.

More recently, I had a nearly new pair of glasses disappear one morning.

I looked, then searched, then finally I started retracing my steps.

I remembered playing with the dog the night before, and I had my glasses in the v-neck in my shirt.

I went down there — and there, next to her Igloo, was a mangled bit of metal.

It was my glasses. The lenses were popped out, and she was giving me her sweet puppy look.

The day I took those to be repaired, I just took them to have proof of having them at all. The store was very busy, and the lady who was checking people in finally had a chance to get to me.

She apologized, and asked what she could do for me.

I dropped my dirt- and slobber-covered lenses and the chewed-up frames on the counter in front of her and, with a straight face and serious tone, said, “can you fix these?”

The look on her face was priceless.

“Um, honey, I…I don’t think we can. These are, um, these are just broken,” she said with a quavery voice, probably expecting a tirade from me. “I’m sorry there’s just nothing we can do.”

Of course, I smiled at her, and told her my dog ate them — and those were replaced with the ones I wear today.

I guess subconsciously I’ve always hated having glasses and have inexplicably sought new and exciting ways to destroy them. Contacts are not an option — that’s a whole other sordid story.

I’ve sat on my glasses. I’ve dropped them in food. I’ve slept in them — that’s probably the most interesting, because I end up bending the stems in all sorts of interesting pretzel-type shapes.

I’ve stepped on them. The ones the dog ate? A couple months before I put them on a footstool to read something, then sat back and slammed my legs down on the footstool — and the glasses. I was able to bend those back into some sort of shape after that, but of course, the dog finished the job not long after.

One thing I found sort of interesting involving glasses. It doesn’t involve destroying a pair — in fact, it involves ancestors who were able to care for their eyewear.

I was given some old family things, among them a pair of eyeglasses from either my great-grandfather or great-uncle.

They are very thin, gold wire-rim frames. They’re very fragile, so I rarely even touch them.

When I put those on, I can see just fine — it’s almost exactly the same prescription.

I do wish I didn’t have to wear glasses, but became very accustomed to it a long time ago. Yes, my license says I’ve got to have them on to drive, but without question I’m thankful for the ability to see, and thankful we have tools available that allow me to see better.

John Ross is a reporter for the Times-Tribune. He can be reached at