Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Mirror Universe

Of course there was some culture shock moving from Upper Michigan to the Deep South. The blue laws down here were a wake-up call. I went from a keg of beer being a gas station impulse purchase to having to plan ahead just to buy a six-pack.

Even more alarming was discovering my contact lens prescription in the State of Georgia was valid for a mere twelve months. After that I need another eye exam to buy more contacts. Seriously? Don't even try telling me this is for my own protection. If Georgia's laws reflected actual concern for the well-being of its citizens as individuals, it wouldn't be such a bass-ackward red mess of a state.

And it can't be a "bible-belt" thing. While the Good Book has plenty to say about foreskins, there's not a single verse concerning vision correction. Unless you count the totally blind. And the motes and planks. And the dead. (I wonder if after waking up, Lazarus was disappointed to find he still needed glasses. And if being astigmatic is really something you want to complain to Jesus about.)

No, I find it much more likely that in Georgia's recent past, an ambitious, greedy optometrist decided to run for state legislature.

This is why I've gotten into the habit of stocking up before my prescription expires. If some sort of disaster were to strike this second, I'd be prepared with one week's worth of beans and tuna, however long the water in the toilet tank lasts, no clean underpants and a two year supply of disposable, oxygen-permeable contact lenses.

I'm getting to the age, however, were my vision seems to change on a daily basis. So when I recently went for an eye exam I was surprised to learn that over the last three years my lens prescription hadn't changed a fraction of a diopter. How can that be? I feel as though I'm going blind. "You just need reading glasses," the optometrist replied as she handed me one prescription for contacts and another for bifocals.

Of course, I only need reading glasses when I'm wearing my contacts. With my contacts out my focus at seven inches is laser sharp. No closer, no further. That's my focal plane. Seven inches in front of me. If it doesn't ever-so-lightly brush the tip of my erect penis, I can't see it.

Since I rarely take my contacts out, I'm used to pausing at the mirror to admire my clear, radiant complexion before skipping out of the house without a care in the world. But when take my contacts out I can clearly see how gross I am. I have wrinkles and spots and terminal rosacea. I realize all my best facial hair comes from the cat. I see whiteheads and blackheads coexisting in harmony and whisper apologies to Martin Luther King, Jr. as I squeeze.

Even though I'm aware I'm only fooling myself, I feel relief when I put my contacts back in. I'm me again.

I've been thinking lately that maybe this is nature's way of helping us cope with age. Just as our looks begin to fade, our vision compensates by blurring our deepening wrinkles, our darkening age spots and my mutating ear-bristle follicles. So when we look at ourselves in the mirror, we see ourselves with the beautiful soft-focus glow of Gloria Swanson with a double layer of Vaseline on the lens.

But taking my contacts out allows me to look in the mirror and see myself as I really am. And I'm never ready for that close-up.

How I see myself with my contact lenses in...

... and with my contacts out.

Rounding up of course, as per customary penis measuring practice. The trigonometric and geometric calculations required to account for hangle and curvature are left as an exercise for the reader.


  1. First - I don't think it's GA law about the year prescription thing. That is an insurance carrier thing, I think. At least VSP.

    I could not deal that well with contacts and readers. I ended up with one contact for far-sightedness and one for near. It takes a little while to adjust, but it can be done.

    And dude - a keg of beer at a time? Moderation.

  2. The bi-focal contacts work fairly well, however you can't put them in and forget them - they need to be cleaned daily. Eventually I ended up opting for the glasses because it was just easier.