It’s official. I have become an old man.
It happened just a few weeks ago. (Yeah, right, you say. You look at my bald head and graying beard, you see me wheezing and hacking after just a couple of trips up and down the basketball court and you think to yourself, Who’s this guy think he’s kidding? He’s been doing the old man thing for years! At which point I say, Hey, whose letter is this anyway? If you don’t like the way I’m telling the story you can write your own!).
So anyway, like I was saying, just recently I became an old man. I looked down at my Sports Illustrated and I, um—how do I put this? Well, I couldn’t see it, see. It was all—what’s the word?—blurry. Like suddenly someone had smudged the lens. I did discover that if I held the magazine just a little farther from my face—PRESTO!—the words came back into focus. But needless to say I was a little shaken up. I was doing that thing the old guys do when they’ve left their reading glasses on the coffee table. It was not pleasant.
That first experience with old man eyes came on me unawares, as if one day I could see just fine and the next day I could not. Unfortunately, since then it has gradually gotten even worse. It’s not yet to the point where I have to get me some of those end-of-the-nose glasses that my parents used to wear (Used to? They still do!); but there’s no question the day is coming. Sooner than I’d like. And probably sooner than I’m willing to admit.
They warned me about this several years ago when I had my RK surgery. The doctor told me he would give me less-than-perfect vision in order to help me stave off the inevitable reliance on reading glasses. He said it happens to everyone. At the time I remember thinking: What a rip-off. I already spent my years in glasses. I shouldn’t have to do it again. I hoped he was overstating things. Or that maybe the rules would not apply to me. (The last time I remember hoping the rules would not apply to me was when I learned of the genetic certainty of my bald pate. That one didn’t work out so well either.)
My wife had eye surgery at the same time I did and heard the same, sad speech. So when her eyes went out on her two or three years ago, and she went down to Sav-on to get some of those super attractive granny glasses, I mustered all of the sensitivity I could and . . . teased her about it. I have also with great obnoxiousness poked unmerciful fun at my friends who now must balance glasses on the ends of their noses in order to read the menu. At this point, the word comeuppance seems inadequate to describe what is about to happen to me. And I don’t like it.
So as I await the inevitable trip to the drug store, I will continue to fake it until my arms are no longer long enough to get the job done. Of course, I would appreciate it if we could keep this just between you and me. What my pals and my wife don’t know won’t hurt them, am I right?
Besides: I think I deserve a little compassion. I’m an old man after all.
P.S. Although I may be bald and gray and increasingly blind, I remain more than willing to lend a helping hand where needed. Is there anything I can do for you? Give me a call or drop me a note and let me know.