Monday, March 16, 2009


When I was in the third grade, I wanted glasses. My two best friends wore glasses, and for some reason I thought it would be cool to wear them. I remember thinking I would look grown up and sophisticated. Of course, there was a problem.

I had perfect vision - better than perfect, in fact. It was 20/10, meaning I could read a letter from 20 feet away, whereas a person with the perfect 20/20 vision would need to be 10 feet away. This caused a snag in my getting-glasses plan. So I did what any 9-year-old would do.

I lied.

When I went to the nurse's office that year for my annual physical, I remember making up my mind just as I was sitting on the short green stool in front of the eye exam machine. I was going to throw the test. I was going to just make everything up. The nurse was alarmed and at first asked me to repeat a few things. I read off the lines of letters with about 50 percent accuracy. I saw the red ball above, on and below the table with about the same success.

The problems with this plan didn't occur to me - that if I was prescribed glasses with this eyesight, I wouldn't be able to see a thing. I just wanted glasses, plain and simple. This was before it was trendy to sell non-prescription glasses just for this purpose, so I saw this as my only alternative.

I went to the eye doctor that afternoon. The nurse was alarmed and called my mom, and she brought me right after school. At this point, I panicked. I was a good kid - I didn't lie about anything - and now I thought I was going to get caught and, consequently, get into huge trouble.

By the time I was sitting in my eye doctor's office, I totally chickened out. I flew through the eye exam without a single mistake, right back to my 20/10 vision. He told my mom there were no problems. I told her I had no idea what happened and that my eyes were just fine. (I think she thought my nurse was a moron for the rest of elementary school.)

Fast forward 16 years.

Aside from the third grade misstep, I always loved having perfect eyesight. With such good vision, I also stopped going to the eye doctor. I honestly didn't realize I should make a trip at least every few years. Until recently, I felt like there was no need. My vision was perfect - until it wasn't. When I noticed the decline, I decided it was time to go to the eye doctor. I had an appointment two Saturdays ago after my 10-year hiatus.

And guess what?

Yep. I got my glasses.