One of the sucky things about getting older (and that is a very long list) is that the eyesight begins to go.
(Wavy flashback lines go here)
I was diagnosed very early in life as being blind as a bat. This became apparent when my Mom took my brother and I to see the Harlem Globetrotters when they performed in Jackson, Mississippi. About halfway through the game I asked my Mom, “What are all those blinking lights up there by the ceiling?”
She looked at me incredulously. “Do you mean to tell me you can’t tell what those are?”
“No, Ma’am,” I said. “All I see is a bunch of fuzzy, blinking lights.”
My brother decided to get in on the incredulity act. “Are you telling me you can’t read those ten foot tall numbers on the scoreboard?”
“Those are numbers?” I asked, incredulously. We were all getting in on this incredibility thing.
A few days later I found myself at the eye doctor attempting to read the eye chart … and failing. I could not see the giant, foot-tall letter “E” that he was trying to get me to see from just a few feet away.
Long story short, I was diagnosed as being legally blind due to being incredibly near-sighted. Even the doctor was incredulous. It was a big week all around for incredulity. Luckily, at age 8, I had not driven myself to the eye appointment since I was now legally blind.
(Quick, wavy lines as we flash forward … because we need to wrap this up.)
It is a well known fact that, as people age, they become more farsighted. We know this because movies and TV shows are filled with the joke of old people holding reading material as far away from their face as possible so they can read it. People joke with each other in these situations, “Do you want to to go hold that across the room for you?” This is followed by much laughter (most of it feigned).
So, because of that, all my life I have believed that, as I got older, my eyesight would get better because my creeping farsightedness would begin to cancel out my nearsightedness.
I found out that it doesn’t work that way. All that happened is that I became both nearsighted and farsighted at the same time. I had to wear contact lenses for my nearsightedness, and also reading glasses for my newly acquired farsightedness.
I complained about this at my eye appointment today and my doctor suggested I wear a different prescription contact in each eye. I was skeptical. I had a mental image of me walking around in circles all day long. But I thought, “What the heck? What do I have to lose?” So I tried it and he fitted me with a pair of sample contacts.
I feel like a beam of light shone down from me on high and a heavenly host began to sing. I could see far away. I could see close up. I could actually read my phone without wearing reading glasses. I could read traffic signs. I was able to work at my computer without wearing reading glasses. In short, I feel like I did many decades ago when I got my first pair of glasses.
I remember yelling as loud as I could, “Mom! Come in here quick!”
“What?” she asked, alarmed, as she rushed into the room.
I pointed up at the ceiling and said excitedly, “Look! There’s a fly! On the ceiling!”
She did not share my excitement. She did not realize I had never seen a fly from far away before. Or anything, for that matter.
And now I can see both far away and close up for the first time in decades. This is a great time to be alive!