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Blurred Vision


Photo credit: avrene via Foter.com / CC BY

Life was hard for a fat kid. Nobody ever looked at you and said,

“Now there’s a great ball player.”

No, a fat kid always had to prove himself. It was like hanging a sign around your neck that read “Don’t pick me for anything except a pie eating contest.”  The only thing that made it worse was having to wear glasses.

In 1963 glasses weren’t considered a cool fashion accessary—they were a curse.  Mine were those dorky smoke-faded frames with cable temples that wrapped snugly around ones ears.  They were awkward, uncomfortable, and ruined any chances of getting some really cool aviator shades. s-l400

I thought is was best to keep the glasses a secret from the other guys in town. There would be plenty of fat jokes waiting for me on the baseball diamond; I didn’t need to give them any more ammunition.

I’d hide the glasses in my pants pocket or tuck them away in the safest place I could think of—the grass along the first base line—nothing could possibly happen to them there.

After several frame repairs, Dad told me—in no uncertain terms—to keep the glasses on my face. But he couldn’t have expected me to wear them while playing football!  Believing I was acting responsibly, I placed them out of harms way on the grating of the neighbor’s fire pit.

As I walked through our back door later that evening, Mom asked why I wasn’t wearing my glasses. Panic-stricken, I patted down my pants pockets—nothing!  I turned and dashed back to the field.

The dark silhouette of a man hovering over the fire pit contrasted against the blue twilit sky.  Orange flickering flames illuminated the face of Old Man Haas—he was burning his garbage.


My pounding heart clung to the hope that my glasses were still intact.

“Looking for these?”  He asked as he slowly pulled them from his shirt pocket.

After that near disaster, I thought Dad had legally changed my name to Where’syourglasses.  His constant reminder about taking responsibility for their care had me assuring him I’d learned my lesson.

But football called again. I wasn’t going to risk having them knocked off my face, and I surely wasn’t going to place them where they could be stepped on or incinerated.  No, this time I used my head. Those handy cable ear temples gave me a great idea.  I hung the glasses on the rear license plate of the neighbor’s family car—safe and sound!

The game was going great. I made several saving tackles and intercepted a pass, nearly running it back for a touchdown!  That’s when I spotted the red Corvair wagon. It was motoring down the road with my glasses tail-boarding on the rear license plate like a firefighter hanging on to the back of his truck.

Frantically waving my hands in the air, I ran down the street yelling for Terry’s mom to stop. But good old “Mrs Magoo” seldom paid attention to where she was going—the chances of her looking in the rear view mirror were pretty slim.

As I watched the wagon disappear around the corner, the unsavory thought of explaining  this one to Dad had me convinced that getting a paper route and moving into a place of my own would be less challenging.  After all, in the words of Wally Conklin: “Even a rat can take care of itself.” 

But my dad had a better thought:

Never let a bad day make you think you have a bad life. 

14 thoughts on “Blurred Vision

  1. Boy, did this bring back memories for me! In elementary school, I got teased for having “four eyes” and for being skinny! I still know word for word the song one girl made up about me. 🙂 I remember my mother taping my glasses together with masking tape when they broke and sending me off to school like that. It didn’t matter that they were as crooked as a thief and very unattractive on me, I had to wear them. I also remember really needing them. My eyes were pretty weak and I couldn’t possibly have gotten away without them, but even if I could have I wouldn’t have had the creative urges you did with your glasses. Those are very funny stories. It’s good we can laugh about them now. Thanks for sharing, Gene. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh yes! I sure did. (Barf) ….. but that was in my teen years. I had no tape on them then. It is hilarious to look back and remember what was “in style” during those years. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. When I got into my twenties, I wore contact lenses and then about 15 years ago I got lazer surgery on my eyes. Way better now! The first time I could see without glasses, I cried. For me, it was a huge miracle as I had needed glasses since grade one. God is so good!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, I was pretty close to that, unfortunately. By the time I got lazer surgery, a book had to be about 2 inches away from my face in order for me to read it. Before the surgery, the doctor told me that “at my age” I would need low grade prescription glasses after about 5 years or so. He was right on, but it was still totally worth it! Those heavy perscriptions weighed and cost a lot of money, and my depth perception was off as well. Wonderful to have that all behind me now. 🙂 I don’t ever want to be without my eyesight.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Can I just say I guffawed out loud at your story? 🙂 You sure found some clever places to “keep your glasses safe.” I know you had good intentions. 😉

    I never wore glasses (although I wanted some!), but I was often the last one picked for teams, simply because I was the unpopular girl in my grade.

    Your dad’s thoughts about bad days and bad lives is profound. Perspective sure makes a difference, doesn’t it?

    Have a great weekend!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I was like Jeanne, Gene … lol … did you catch that? 🙂 I was picked last for every team … the team made up of all girls because I was so girly. I’d run up to kick the ball and miss. I can kick that ball now. Let me tell you! But all the girls who played were bulky athletes … me? Girly. Don’t even get me started on the monkey bars. That was a no-go. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, Gene. So amazing. So amazing. You lived a movie life … novel life. You really did. This reminded me of The Sandlot, The Goonies … I know it was horrifying then, but what amazing stories you have. Once … my mother and sister were walking the next street over to visit friends. I wanted to stay and play with the neighbor. When I got done playing, I thought I’d catch up to them. Wrong. They’d already headed home. And when I got home … trouble. Oh, trouble. 🙂 They were searching the yard for me. 🙂 You are an amazing story-teller. You really are.

    Liked by 1 person

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