I’m finally growing accustomed to my new glasses. I say it that way because I really don’t like wearing them. I’ve never liked wearing glasses. They’re never around when I need them and when I do find them, they’re usually so besmirched with gods know what it’s like looking through the bottom of a Vaseline jar.* I have to admit, however, that after a month or so, I am grateful for the fact that I can see clearly now.**
It’s funny how we can become habituated, over time, to having all the textures of life blurred into gauzy smoothness. My near vision has been diminishing for years*** and I had been prescribed readers way back in 2010. It was only when I admitted to myself that reading the word cat as “eat” meant it was time for an upgrade that I did anything about it. Unfortunately, as the foreground became more blurred, so too did the midrange. And so, my upgrade was for reading and television viewing.
It was not until I was recently sitting on the couch, reading a book, that the difference became crystal clear. Not the “reading a book” part, but what came after. I finished a chapter and closed the book, setting it aside on the coffee table. I sat back to ruminate over what I’d read, soaking in the details and processing the information. Normally I take my glasses off when I finish reading, because if I continue wearing them when I’m staring off into the distance, they give me a headache. This time I forgot.
Suddenly I found myself looking at my naked body**** and realized I hadn’t seen it this clearly in a very, very long time. I marveled at the whorls of hair, growing sparse, the blemishes, the scars, the varicose veins, the tiny tattoos on my lower torso marking placement so I can be lined up for radiation treatments. I have so much more white hair than I thought I did. And in the weirdest places. I am one sexy beast!
I also have tiny scabs on my arms, probably from a gardening mishap over the weekend. The lines in my hands would make a palmist moist in the nethers, there are so many of them now. Most startling is the skin on the back of my hands, which give them a dry papery look – even though, I swear, they’re not dry. I moisturize, for gawds sake!
Meanwhile, all the tiny scars lacing my knuckles – from my time spent in the soul-shattering Gulag known as Catholic School – are like old friends I haven’t seen since God was a pup.***** Vatican II may have shortened their skirts and bobbed their habits, but it didn’t make the nuns any less humorless. I once believed the scars would fade over time, and many of them have, but apparently I’ll carry some of those “lessons” to my grave with me. Wait… where was I? Oh! Yeah! I was me-gazing.
You want to know the oddest part about all this myopic voyeurism? I’m not appalled by what I see. I’m not grossed out. I’m a little squicked at first – let’s be honest – but after I settle in and give it all a good twice over, I realize I’m okay with the venerable disaster my body has become. I’m 57 years old. I’m an old man, even though on most days I don’t feel a day over 30. Okay, 35.†
It’s all gonna get a lot more unsightly and I have to be okay with that. I’ve got a cancer to survive and in order to make that survival meaningful, I’ve got to do so by a LOT of years. Like, I’m settling into the idea of one day turning 80, just to prove a point. Just so there’s no question about whether or not that gut goblin was responsible. I don’t owe that bitch anything.
Yeah. So, I think I may be developing a love/hate relationship with my new glasses…
Compulsory Footnotes (Because you demanded them, Todd)
*What the hell they can possibly be doing when I’m not wearing them is really beyond me.
**…the rain is gone. You know like the Johnny Nash song? Oh, never mind…
***Because of my slavish devotion to computer screens for over 30 years, yeah, I admit it.
****It’s my couch, I can sit naked on it if I want to. Just about every hand you’ve ever shaken has held a dick in it. And most aren’t washed afterwards. What you don’t know…
*****He was an asshole then, I don’t believe he’s changed all that much in the last eternity. Wait, what?
†I hate mirrors. They come across as so innocuous, just hanging there like they’re minding their own business. Then, just as you’re feeling spry and a little saucy after a nice cool shower, they jump out from around the corner to scare the bejeezus out of you. Rude, that’s what that is!