I can see clearly now.

On the first of every month, I:

1) Verify and repair the permissions on my hard drive;
2) Empty the trash on my hard drive;
3) Throw my contact lenses away and start wearing a new pair.

I have no idea why I do the first two, except that someone told me it’s a good idea, like flossing. OK, whatever. The contact lens thing still bugs me, though. I believe I paid $300 for my first pair of Bausch & Lomb SofLens, in the early ’80s, or approximately $50,000 in today’s dollars. That was two months’ rent for me, but so worth it. They were revolutionary! B&L bought magazine ads with a photo of water droplets on a pane of glass. “Can you tell which is the Bausch & Lomb SofLens?” the copy ran. No, you couldn’t. That was also the experience of millions of early adopters when they dropped one of the slippery little buggers on the sink. But unless you were a millionaire, you learned to tell them apart; after all, each one cost $150.

That was only the beginning. There was a whole chemistry set of solutions that came with them — cleaners, storage, disinfectant, a weekly soak that involved tablets fizzing in little plastic vessels. Or you could go for heat disinfection, which meant boiling your lenses for a few minutes. Both were a pain in the ass, but the contacts were wonderful. You didn’t get that squint the hard-lens wearers all had, and soft ones could never “pop out,” which happened frequently. It was common, at the time, to walk into a room and find one or two or three people on their hands and knees, searching a shag carpet for a tiny piece of plastic, which might or might not be found. If it was, the grateful party would scurry off to the bathroom for a re-insertion or, depending on his or her comfort with carpet germs, merely pop it in the mouth for a re-wet and do it on the spot.

That was pretty gross. But it happened all the time. What were you going to do? Carry it home in your pocket? Lenses, hard and soft, were expensive. You could buy insurance for contacts.

Hank Stuever once wrote me about losing a lens when he was a kid, on a hayride. His mom took him back to the scene of the crime to look for it, hours later — expensive! — and they actually found it, a single contact lens on a hay wagon, which must be the modern equivalent of the needle in a haystack. And what did young Hank do next? Squirted some solution on it and put it back in his eye. I understand Hank’s mother is now a nun. If she’s ever nominated for sainthood, I think the fact her son isn’t known today as the blind TV critic should count as one of her miracles. (Finding it could be No. 2.)

I wore my last pair of contacts for five years. I’ve always been scrupulous about care, and I didn’t wear them every day, but often enough that my optometrist gaped in horror when I told him how long it had been since I’d re-upped. In that time, he informed me, pretty much the entire industry had gone to two-week or four-week, even daily disposables. You bought lenses by the box now, and it was important to throw them away on schedule, lest you tempt eye infections. Part of me thinks yeah yeah and wants to mention all those shag carpet lens searches, and once I did. My current optometrist replied with a confession to having once retrieved a lens from the sink drain at a college party, rinsing it a little under the tap, and popping it back in.

But you don’t need to do that anymore, she added. Lenses are cheap now. Kate wears daily-wear and I, month-long multifocals, and my total expenditures for both of us, including solution, probably is about what I paid for my first pair of SofLenses and all their attendant solutions. Today she told me she was coming to the bottom of her box, and would I please order more, the way you ask the designated grocery-buyer in the household to put ketchup on the list.

I spared her the 700-word lecture you just read. Why bother?

A little bloggage before I go? Sure:

My former colleague Dave Jones, an Ohio State grad and now a sportswriter in Pennsylvania, speaks to the Jim Tressel affair from the place where it matters most. Mr. Albom, this is how you stir emotion in a sports column. Not the way you do it.

This story — about how one guy, Joshua Kaufman, was able to retrieve his stolen laptop, using a program called Hidden — just about sold me on it. Funny, too.

In keeping with today’s theme of God I Am So OLD, may I just say that reading today’s news, about Andrew Anthony Weiner and the underpants-boner picture, only underscores the above. God, I remember when John Tower was run off the reservation for drinking too much and hitting on women. Imagine, in 1989, being told that the news in 22 years would involve whether an elected official did or did not send a photo of his wing-wang — with his phone! — to a woman, and that the stories the morning of June 2, 2011 would be led by the elected official’s failure to categorically deny whether that was his wing-wang.

I hope I live another 22 years. God knows what we’ll be talking about then.

Happy Thursday, all.

Posted at 9:27 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

57 responses to “I can see clearly now.”

  1. Deborah said on June 2, 2011 at 9:39 am

    I think the Andrew Weiner story is hilarious, especially the way he’s handling it (so to speak). I think it was a hack job but he’s playing along to get a lot of publicity out of it. I read somewhere on the internet that he said he wasn’t sure if it was him, but it didn’t look familiar. lol.

    Regarding contacts, I wear one in my right eye for reading, my left eye is contact free and does the far seeing. It’s called mono-vision. It’s not perfect but sure beats carrying around (and losing) reading glasses all the time. I keep reading glasses for after hours, I have about five pair in various colors that I keep all over the house for easy grabbing. This reminds me that I have to call my eye Dr today and reschedule my appointment. Thanks for the reminder.

    edit: I should add that my contact wearing is the two weeks per variety. And I often don’t wear it on the weekends.

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  2. Suzanne said on June 2, 2011 at 9:41 am

    I had the same pair of hard contacts from high school through early marriage, then switched to gas permeable lenses. I had that pair for over 20 years, retrieving the occasional errant lens from the carpet, or at the precipice of a drain, but never permanently lost. My eye doc was amazed at their longevity. Originally, that pair cost me over $200 but, as it turned out, ended up being about $10 per year (not counting the cleaning and soaking solutions which, for gas perms, are fairly cheap). I’m now in bifocal gas perms, which seem to be working well, and with my track record, should last me into dementia.

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  3. Hank Stuever said on June 2, 2011 at 9:59 am

    You remembered! It’s true, I swear. The church group hayride, 1982, freshman year of high school. I’d had contact lenses all of a few weeks of what I felt would surely be a wondrous, nerd-free life without glasses. After losing it, I was disconsolate — and half-blind — on the trip back to Oklahoma City. My mother had told me that if I lost one, that was it, they were too expensive to replace. That was a Saturday night.

    On Monday — MONDAY — the lady at the hayride place (40 miles south of town) called to say that the horses had been allowed to nibble off all the leftover hay on the flatbed and while she was sweeping it clean, she looked down and saw that poor Catholic school kid’s contact lens. And yes, we drove all the way down there to get it, in the seething mother-son silence that would come to define so much of my teen years. And yes, I licked it clean and put it in my eye. (Edit: Although it’s possible I did bring the solution with me. Like all stories, the details have morphed over time.) The thing about losing today’s soft lenses is that it’s a race against time before the sucker shrivels up and dries out.

    I don’t think we properly acknowledged the story’s miraculousness at the moment. Maybe we were too relieved about THE COST. By that time, the Stuevers had searched much shag carpet for a lot of lost contact lenses belonging to my older sisters — almost always found. After one particularly hopeless search (after a river float, as the last of the night’s summer light disappeared) the contact was located on top of the wearer’s head.

    I had those contacts for eight years, and retired them only because my doctor insisted the soft lenses would feel so much better. To this day, I find it a little galling to watch my monthly lenses go willingly down the drain.

    I would love to read an oral history of the very first people who volunteered to wear contact lenses. (Or maybe they weren’t even volunteers. Maybe Mengele invented them.) Has anyone ever stumbled across a history of contact lenses? When were the first? Imagine what those must have felt like on the first try. There should be a monument to these wearers that we can all visit in quiet tribute — perhaps a giant, translucent lens. With statues of people on their hands and knees, crawling around it.

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  4. alex said on June 2, 2011 at 10:01 am

    I’m doing AccuVue these days, tossing ’em every two weeks. I had tried their bifocal contacts and found them simply impossible. It was like having a scrim of eye snot that wouldn’t go away. I could not learn to focus in those damned things.

    Nance, you say you’ve got multifocals that work? Do tell.

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  5. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 2, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Hank, you should read “That Old Cape Magic” by Richard Russo; I just finished it, and its got a bunch of scenes all built on the riddle of parent/adult child conflicting memories. (Plus it was a good read that I only just finished, but your story rang that bell hard.)

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  6. coozledad said on June 2, 2011 at 10:21 am

    I’m tempted to ask what’s got up Naipaul’s ass, but it seems he’s always had something there. A table lamp, maybe.
    Maybe it’s because Hilary Mantel writes his ass into the ground every time she makes a grocery list:

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  7. Julie Robinson said on June 2, 2011 at 10:22 am

    Hubby has multifocals, too, but I notice he still reaches for the readers from time to time, especially in dim lighting. My dry eyes consign me to glasses after years of wearing and loving contacts.

    An acquaintance who is now deceased had some of the very early contacts, I think during the 40’s. She had a devastating vision problem that couldn’t be corrected by glasses and her optometrist had heard of German scientists experimenting with them. They were made of glass, covered her entire eye, and took two people to insert. Despite the discomfort they gave her the freedom to go away to college, but when her eyes changed again she became functionally blind.

    When she was in her 60’s she was able to have surgery and wear glasses. For the first time ever she could drive, read, and have a more normal life. This was a blessing when she lost her husband to cancer. She began volunteering at the reading service where I worked, and whose services she had formerly used. It should go without saying that she was an inspiration to us all.

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  8. nancy said on June 2, 2011 at 10:22 am

    I’m more struck by the mind of a great reporter, imagining the next story. An oral history of contact lenses? I’d totally read that.

    Alex, my brand now is Air Optix, and while they’re multifocal, they’re really not well-suited for going readers-free. I think I’ll stop in for a re-check when this supply runs out. I can read my car’s gauges, menus and anything in decent-size type with them, but still use my cheaters for computer work or reading anything longer than a paragraph.

    Hank, note Julie’s comment, above: GERMAN SCIENTISTS. Things that make you go hmmm.

    VS Naipul beat his women. And while I never say, “’nuff said,” this seems a good time to do so.

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  9. Mark P. said on June 2, 2011 at 10:23 am

    I could never get used to the idea of sticking something into my eye, but then I didn’t need glasses until my arms got too short in my 50s. I still really only need reading glasses, so no contacts for me. Ever.

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  10. Chris in Iowa said on June 2, 2011 at 10:28 am

    I’m sorry to nitpick, Nancy, but isn’t it Anthony Weiner?

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  11. Mindy said on June 2, 2011 at 10:35 am

    I’m envious of all of you since I’m not a candidate for contacts of any kind. So it’s glasses for me forevermore, and I can’t even have no line bifocals. I found frames that suit me perfectly that are now discontinued, of course. Three pairs are stashed in my closet with the hope that they can contain future Coke bottle prescriptions. But I remember the shag carpet searches from the early days. A friend lost a lens and her mother had a fit. We looked for it with flashlights in darkened rooms while being scolded for putting our hands and knees on the carpet as we searched.

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  12. Hank Stuever said on June 2, 2011 at 10:38 am

    There was a night in college where I woke up in my clothes, still drunk, and panicked about the fact that I still had my contact lenses in. Went to the bathroom and discovered they’d drifted up into my eye sockets, which had happened before. Started the excavation process — stretching my eyelids open, rotating my orbs, sticking my fingernail up there hoping to get purchase on the slivered curve of the lens.

    Real veteran contact-lens wearers know where this story is headed: I wasn’t wearing my contacts. They were in the case, soaking.

    I’m surprised I didn’t become some apocryphal anecdote in a story about binge drinking among college kids: Did you hear about the sophomore who gouged out his own eyes at a keg party?

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  13. Dorothy said on June 2, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Waaay back in 1975 or so when I did wear glasses, but only needed correction in one eye, I attempted to wear contacts. The eye doc said I only needed one, but when I tried wearing a single lens it felt like I had a monocle in there. I could not adjust, and spent a week or two trying, nose running and eye(s) running little tears much of the time. I gave up. My kids tell me I should try the new ones (they’ve both worn contacts since middle school) but now that I’m in bifocals I don’t think I want to bother. The older I get the less I want to put up with trying new things. I hate to say I’m happy to be complacent about it.

    I’d like to throw a question to this sage and knowing group of folks. I’m considering surgery to repair a basal thumb joint in my left hand. Do any of you know anyone who had this done? I’m a nervous wreck trying to decide if I should have it done. I’ve had injections of cortisone of the years, and I take Celebrex daily for arthritis there (it’s in both thumbs actually) and in my knee. But this year something has changed – the thumbs ache a lot, and I get spasms occasionally that REALLY hurt. The left is much worse than the right, but if I get surgery on the left and it works I might consider doing the right. But I’m so afraid of losing the use of my thumb. Do share, please, if you have some insight on basal joint arthroplasty.

    And Moe – how did your surgery go? I hope you’re reading and maybe following along even if you aren’t able to participate in our daily musings at nn.c. Thinking of you lots…

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  14. LAMary said on June 2, 2011 at 11:29 am

    I’ve never been bugged by my glasses enough to get contacts. Until last year I really only needed the glasses for distance, and now I need readers too. My older son and I have nearly identical distance correction so we can wear each other’s glasses. Luckily we both favor unisex type frames ranging from the Rachel Maddow type I have to little round wire frames he wears.
    I’ve never searched for contacts in a haywagon, but I’ve climbed into a dumpster full of school lunch garbage to find a retainer.

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  15. adrianne said on June 2, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Love these tales of contact lenses back in the day! My miracle save came my sophomore year of college, when, after consuming many adult beverages, I stuck my contacts in two glasses of water and went to sleep. Roommate throws out said water glasses with said contacts still in them. I discover them, shriveled but still usable, on the lip of the bathroom sink.

    Now I have Accuvue “two-week” contacts that I typically extend to one month, with no harm that I can possibly detect.

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  16. Julie Robinson said on June 2, 2011 at 11:38 am

    Isn’t the retainer search another rite of passage? We did that at least once for each kid.

    No experience for you Dorothy, but lots of sympathy. Lately my hip has been added to the list of painful body parts. Does it affect working at the computer?

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  17. Connie said on June 2, 2011 at 11:49 am

    I got hard lenses at the age of 9 and my optometrist said I was the only kid with them he knew of. Switched to gas perms as an adult, added readers, and finally gave up about ten years ago as I just couldn’t keep them clean.

    My claim to contact lense fame is being the kid for whom they had to turn on the lights in the coal mine at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. Found the lens once they did.

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  18. Tracy Farrell said on June 2, 2011 at 11:52 am


    I started my contact lens journey at the same time and venue as Hank. My mother wore them for years before I started. My first pair did not fit well. One popped out in freshman hall right before lunch. I was in a panic but with all the hustle I waited until the students had left. I went back with my close friend Ginann and I found it…when I heard the crack under my penny loafer right in front of my locker. I have probably sent half a dozen down the sink since then. I have damaged my cornea on several occasions, one in particular that prevented me from running the Vancouver half marathon. I had to stand on the sideline blinded by any source of light hoping my friend would collect me when she finished. I still wear them and still swear by them and sometimes because of them!

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  19. Joe Kobiela said on June 2, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Got my hard lenses in 1974, they were tinted brown and made my night vision better for playing football under the lights. Remember using a little suction cup to take them out and practicing with a mirror for hours. Lost one in my pickup one night after a rugby game, the next week I was down on my hands and knees recyceling some beer, and when I looked up there was the lense in the door jam of my truck. Switched to gas permiables and still were the perscription and fit I got way back in 74.
    Pilot Joe

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  20. brian stouder said on June 2, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    Dorothy – and you’re knitter, yes? Or a quilter? (is there a difference, as far as your hands are concerned?)

    Looks like you get to be the guinea pig on the thumb thing… (as I get older, these things become more and more interesting)

    Anyway, let us know how things turn out

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  21. Jeff Borden said on June 2, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    I tried hard contact lenses around 1980. At the time, they did not offer soft lenses that corrected my stigmatisms. They were uncomfortable at best and very uncomfortable whenever my numerous friends who smoked lit up a cigarette. Forget about going to a bar or nightclub. I’d have tears streaming down my face like Tammy Faye Bakker. After a year or so of trying to adapt, I ceremonially flushed them down the toilet and embraced my inner eyeglass wearer.

    I like glasses. I have three pair of different shapes and styles. . .all of them bifocals with the no-line lenses. I also wear a beard and am often in a hat. Maybe I’m just trying to hide my face?? But I’ve never even been tempted to give contact lenses another try. I’m fine with that.

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  22. Bob (not Greene) said on June 2, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    I’m with Jeff B. on the contact front. I got mine probably 1979-80, probably one of the early versions of soft contacts. I was one of those people who had trouble sticking something in his eye. And once the contacts were in, I felt them at all times. Because of an astigmatism, the contacts never made my eyesight as sharp as glasses did, which was also annoying. After a brief trail period, I basically abandoned them and have never yearned to wear them again. Glasses are fine for me. I do draw the line at beards and hats, however.

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  23. Deborah said on June 2, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    When this thread first started I thought no one is going to be interested in a steady stream of stories about contacts and yet I’m enjoying it tremendously.

    And Chris in Iowa, you are right it is Anthony not Andrew Weiner.

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  24. Jeff Borden said on June 2, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    Bob N.G.,

    You are probably lucky enough to have a chin. I don’t. So, the beard gives me the illusion of a chin, lol. Plus, it’s turning a nice silver as I age, so I may be able to pull off the pseudo-intellectual look at some point.

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  25. Mark P. said on June 2, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    White beards? That reminds me of something my brother told me. He has almost always had a beard or at least a goatee, just like me, and both of ours are now white. He had to visit Japan on business a couple of times, and he said he always made sure to have facial hair because a white beard shows age, and the Japanese respect their elders.

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  26. Dorothy said on June 2, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    You said what I was thinking, Deborah. I’ll go one further and say I’m amazed that we haven’t had this topic of discussion before and it’s been a real “eye-opener”! (go ahead, groan…)

    Just saw my GP – she’s sending me to a hand specialist in Columbus. Yes Brian, I knit and quilt, but I haven’t hand quilted in forever. Knitting does not really hurt but after I’ve knitted for an hour or so, I do feel a little throbbing afterward. But while I’m knitting I don’t feel any pain. It’s mostly when I pinch weeds in the garden, or try to open something, when the spasms hit. I can never really be sure what’s going to set it off. It passes in a minute or two but it’s swollen most of the time these days. And now you know way more than you ever really wanted to about the state of my left hand.

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  27. prospero said on June 2, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    I had a HS swimming teammate named Bucky Bedford who regularly hit the practice pool at Warren HS (rented, since we had no pool) without removing his contacts. He had somewhat tinted lenses and I found a lens a couple of times on the bottom after we had evacuated the pool to let things settle. It required moving very carefully underwater with one hand sweeping the pool bottom, and being able to remain submerged for a pretty long time, but it can be done. Of course, anybody that’s ever had a swimming coach knows that this sort of thing infuriates them, and invariably, when Bucky lost a contact, we’d look for 15 minutes and be ordered back to practice, doing something excruciatingly heinous like 200 IMs on a 3-minute clock (this quickly devolves into non-stop individual medley, which makes a fine metaphor for hell). After a few of these brutal practices, we took turns preventing the goof from diving in until we were sure he’d removed his contacts. Even with the buddy system, somebody was sure to yell, “Bucky, wait!”, even during meets. Good guy but, wow, what a doofus. This was in the 60s and I suppose contacts must have been pretty expensive back then.

    I hadn’t thought of this guy for years. Pleasant memory, though. Terrific breaststroker. I’ve got glasses to correct for mild myopia, never used contacts. I’ve driven at night from Georgia to Boston without my glasses, and I don’t usually bother with them for the movies. My perscription has not changed since I was a teenager. Thought about surgery, but an ophtahalmologist told me that it would shorten my arms in the long run, and that in their current condition, my eyes would never give way to hyperopia, so I decided on foregoing readers. Another consideration was that I could never shoot a Bball accurately with my glasses on. I suppose my brain adjusted for myopia before it was diagnosed.

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  28. coozledad said on June 2, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    I had a chin once. Wattles engineered a hostile takeover. I tried the beard remedy, but it looked like an armpit grafted to the lower third of my face. No matter what I do at this point, no one’s going to say “Look at that remarkably preserved old fuck”.

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  29. beb said on June 2, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    I would be interesting to know who made the first contact lens or why anyine ever thought they were a good idea. All I know in regards to their history is that in the Doc Savage pulp novels (1933-1949)he would insert glass cups, as their called them, to change the color of his eyes. So contacts were known in the 30s but weren’t popular.

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  30. Judybusy said on June 2, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    I’m with Jeff B and Bob (Not Greene.) I love eyewear, have ever since I was eight and got my first pair of miraculous glasses. I had no idea there was a clock in the room or you were supposed to be able to read the chalkboard. (These days I wonder why the hell it took them till I was in the third grade to figure out I was so impaired!) I’ve been going to the same shop for about a decade and Nadine always puts cool stuff in front of me. I manage to pull off the look even though I’m beardless….Cooz, I can imagine yours perfectly with your description. Thanks for shaving.

    A surprisingly entertaining thread today. I love that we all can make this mundane topic so fun.

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  31. Christy S. said on June 2, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Come on, people — get your blind behinds over to the laser surgeon and zap your way into perfect vision.

    I had similar experiences with contacts from 1980 forward — by 1999 my eyes were “rejecting” them, so said my doc. Choice was either coke-bottle glasses or Lasek. Problem was, the Lasek I needed — my eyes were 20/800 and 20/1200 — hadn’t been approved yet in the U.S. So my doc ferried me down to Tijuana where I could get the much better laser. I know, I know — you have visions of shooing away a few starving dogs as we offer the secret knock on the eye surgeon’s back-alley door. Actually, the place was nicer than any I had seen in the U.S. — white marble floors and such. They popped me a Valium, tossed me back in the chair, zapped me for a few minutes and when I sat up I could read the poster across the room. Went home and took a nap and woke up good as new. No pain, no regrets and no more glasses or contacts.

    Twelve years later and I’m still 20/20.

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  32. prospero said on June 2, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Nobody goes out here in the subtropics without shades. Polarized shades. The sun hear will cause headaches, and I presume, damage. I’ve seen people ride bikes into trees because of sun-blindness, and I’ve been knocked off my bike by sun-blinded driver.

    Y’all know, NBA vogue had a bunch of players wearing frames with non-prescription lenses as a fashion statement a few years ago. Scottie Pippen was an early adopter, as was Pat Ewing. They also wore sweater vests and tweed sportscoat. Trying to appear professorial, I guess. Not like Kareem’s prescription goggles or Rambis’ Hansen bothers frames, complete with athletic tape.

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  33. Bill Eichenberger said on June 2, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Jeff: Try smoking a pipe. That kills with the ladies.

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  34. Sherri said on June 2, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    On the subject of the Macbook camera and being able to remotely activate, there’s the less funny story of the Lower Merion School District and their use of an application to remotely activate the camera. The purpose was supposed to be to find lost or stolen Macbooks, but when a principal accused a student of using drugs based on a picture taken from his Macbook at his house, a lawsuit ensued. There’s also a creepy sequence in a Frontline episode on education reform showing an assistant principal using the remote activation facility to check on middle school students in class to see if they’re working.

    Sorry to hear that the multifocal lenses don’t obviate the need for reading glasses. I had been considering contact lenses to replace my progressive lens glasses, but if I still need reading glasses, I won’t bother. My near vision is a bigger problem than my distance vision.

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  35. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 2, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    6079 Smith! You’re not stretching enough on your toe touches!

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  36. Heather said on June 2, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Adrianne, I did that once with my sister’s contacts when we were staying at a hotel. In my defense, she put them in a plastic cup by the sink and didn’t bother to tell me. I think I threw them down the sink because I wanted to use the cup to get a drink of water. She didn’t have a spare pair, so I drove the rest of the way home. She still likes to tell that story like *I* did something stupid.

    I do the two-week disposable. I thought my prescription, at 5.25 on the left and 4 on the right, was strong, but a coworker says hers are around 10 for both eyes. I often wonder what my life would be like if I had lived before any type of corrective lenses were available. I probably would have been run over by a carriage or something. Evolution in action.

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  37. Suzanne said on June 2, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Sherrie, I have the multifocal lenses and, after many visits to the eye doc, and several tries with different lenses, I think I finally have some that work. I can cook without readers to read the cookbook, and can indulge in some bathroom reading without first finding reading glasses. It’s a great thing! I nearly gave up, but this last set seems to be ok.

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  38. Little Bird said on June 2, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    I’ve had contacts, but prefer my glasses. I want to eventually build a wardrobe of them. I figure if I have to wear glasses, why not have fun with them. Besides, how many accessories do I have? Why shouldn’t glasses be part of that? Granted, this only works when you don’t pay an arm and a leg for the glasses. Deborah and I wear the same brand, they’re readers, but I get my prescription in mine. Great glasses for under $150 including the lenses and NO INSURANCE applied.
    My problem with the contacts was I always forgot which box was for which eye. My eyes have different needs. VERY different needs.
    Also, someone needs to come up with an attractive lanyard for glasses, so Deborah doesn’t keep losing hers.

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  39. Hattie said on June 2, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Naipal has that shitty smoker’s personality. I’ll bet he really stinks. He hasn’t written anything in years that’s worth reading, either.

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  40. Jen said on June 2, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    Ha! I’d never heard my dad’s story about finding his lost contact lens in the door jam of his truck. That was a good one!

    I got contacts before I started sixth grade, and I’ve been wearing them ever since, except for a short amount of time when I had to go back to glasses because the solution I was using was irritating my eyes. I switched solutions and went back to contacts as soon as possible. Now I use one-day disposables and I absolutely love them. I was especially glad I had one-days when they were having problems with people getting infections and going blind from their contact solutions back in 2007.

    The only time I have problems is when my allergies are really bad, like today. Every so often, I have to bite the bullet and wear my glasses – thank goodness I bought some stylish ones a couple years ago! But most days I just cope.

    The reason I haven’t gotten Lasek surgery yet, besides the fact that I’m a complete wuss, is because my high school band director had a terrible experience with it. It didn’t work right and made his eyes worse. I believe he now has to wear contacts and use reading glasses. I’ll stick with contacts – they’re not bad at all!

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  41. 4dbirds said on June 2, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    Wore contacts, starting at age 12 with the hard ones graduating to the soft then got sick of the daily pop in and out etc, went back to glasses and then 5 years ago LASEK. The lights came on, the angels sang and flowers bloomed. OMFG, what a joy to see from the moment I get up, to the moment I go to bed and even that trip to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

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  42. Dexter said on June 2, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    I got my first glasses at age 11, I wore them until I was 15 and then realized I didn’t need them and threw them away. I got tested regularly as an adult, and at age 45 got glasses again but rarely wore them, then at age 52 I got my only pair of bifocals, which I rarely wear. I do like to wear cheap “readers”, but I don’t need them, it’s just easier to read with magnification. I’m in my sixties now, same deal, if I can find my readers I’ll wear them, if not, I can still see print just fine. It’s not rare to have good uncorrected vision in one’s sixties, but we are definitely a minority here. The kicker is that my wife is my age and she too only wears readers occasionally.

    My grandson’s dad was an early recipient of laser vision correction. It was very expensive then, and not legal in the USA. He had it done in Windsor, Ontario, and his wealthy family paid cash for it…insurance? Not then; it paid zilch.
    The man threw away his coke-bottle specs and to this day is glasses-less.

    I always hated it when hardly any game could be played without a player losing a lens and everyone had to crawl on the floor looking for it…I was at one game when it seemed like a half hour had passed, then an opposing player found it.
    Then, a minute later, he lost it again. This time he found it in about a minute.
    The coach at our school didn’t have to worry about it…all five starters wore glasses like this.

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  43. Bob (not Greene) said on June 2, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    Another twist in the Saga of Weiner’s Wiener.

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  44. Connie said on June 2, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    Heather, my glasses scrip is -10. That means coke bottles, one of the reasons I wore contacts for like 40 years. Vanity, vanity.

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  45. Dexter said on June 2, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    prospero, you have kindled a memory of a trip I took to Charleston about 18 years ago; we had eaten in one those famous Chinese places not far from the air base that was about half way from Ladson (sister-in-law lives there) and downtown.
    I was in a gas station and a bitter young white chick was the clerk, and a bunch of African American young stylish men were in the store trying on these glasses from a rack on the wall, just having a hootin’ great time. They had completed their selections by then and were ahead of me at the register.
    Several of the men had purchased clear lens glasses.
    They exited and I bought my Coca-Cola and paid for my gasoline, all the while listening to a vile tirade about “stupid f’n blacks (n word is what she used) buying plain glass glasses to look SMART!” She was just livid with rage.
    The incident bothered me, but damn, nothing I could do. As Mr. Gump says, “that’s all I got to say about thay-utt.”.

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  46. MichaelG said on June 2, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    A pipe, a tweed jacket with patches on the elbows and a Volvo. Can’t miss.

    My experience with multi- focals is that the distance area is in the upper portion of the lens and the reader part is on the bottom. As a result, a person might have to raise his or her head up a bit to read. The larger the top to bottom dimension of your lens is , the less pronounced this tendency is. I’ve got it worked out over many years so that I’m comfortable reading with my multi-focals but I have to raise my head uncomfortably to use the computer. The distance from my eyes to the screen is different from the distance between my eyes and a book or newspaper. I use supermarket readers to work on the computer. So if you’ve had a bad experience with multi-focals and you had fashionably teeny glasses, lens size might be your problem. Revisit multi-focals with larger lenses.

    No beard. I just can’t grow one. I tried sitting in the corner in the dark and pushing real hard and it still didn’t work. No inclination to try contacts.

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  47. Mark P. said on June 2, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    I got bifocals so I could see the instruments in my car when I drive at night. My distant vision is fine without glasses, but you can’t really wear reading glasses while you drive. I strongly suggest that anyone who gets bifocals not wear them while using a ladder, at least until you get used to the fact that your feet are not where they seem to be. Even curbs can be a problem at first.

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  48. alex said on June 2, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    My prescription is a plus, so instead of Coke-bottles my glasses are bug-eyes. Plus glasses can look pretty creepy, so I got my first pair of hard contacts in my early teens. Never could keep them in or make them tolerable in terms of comfort, went through all kinds of hell trying to retrieve them from inside my eye sockets with the rubber plunger only to discover they had fallen out and were lost. The gas perms were no better. So I just did without glasses, period, and got by fine until fairly well into adulthood.

    Eventually, I got the expensive soft ones that had to be put in the boiling machine every night, but those were so unbreathable that my blood vessels became hypertrophic and grew into my corneas. So at the urging of an ophthalmologist I went back to gas perms and lost both within a week and my eyes were burning so badly I couldn’t see to find them on the floor.

    So then they came out with the disposable ones that are of much smaller diameter and breathe better and since then it has been great, except for the onset of middle-age myopia in combo with my inborn hyperopia. The two don’t cancel each other out. They just make vision such a fucking chore that I’d almost rather be blind some days.

    As for Anthony Weiner, his equivocation is perfectly understandable. It’s probably the first time in his life anyone told him he had a big dick and he doesn’t want to own up to anything less.

    On edit: Forgot to mention that my brother had Lasik maybe ten or fifteen years ago. He was myopic. After the surgery, he was generally satisfied but had the side effect of a lot of “stars” and visual disturbances with night vision. Recently his overall vision deteriorated significantly and he’s back to glasses, in addition to having to live with the side effects of Lasik.

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  49. Rana said on June 2, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    I tried gas permeable contacts in college. At the time, I didn’t like the idea of the soft ones because they were hard to take out (the “pop” aspect of the harder lenses was actually a selling point for me), they required more care in the cleaning, they didn’t provide as sharp a focus, and they didn’t work with astigmatism. It took several tries to get the size right, as my eyes would dilate past the rims at night, causing a halo effect. Physically, they did take a bit getting used to, until someone taught me the don’t-do-this-but-it-works trick of sleeping in them. They never bugged me after that.

    However, I found that, having had glasses since the fifth grade, it was disconcerting coping with their absence. Wind was terrible. I had to be careful not to run into sticks when walking near trees. Having 20/20 peripheral vision was bizarre, as was being able to see in the shower. Nervous gestures involving glasses were no longer possible. Eventually I had a bad cold and had to take them out, and when the cold was over I went back to glasses. The contacts are still sitting in a container somewhere in my vanity.

    According to my eye doctor, the new thing that’s coming down the pike is prescription lenses to replace the natural lenses (as is done for cataracts). In his opinion, things like LASEK are a waste of time, because the cornea reshapes over time, but these lenses won’t. It’s certainly something for me to think about – my vision is so bad that I laugh at the idea of needing glasses to read by – they’re already that bad, since anything further away than six inches is a blur, as is anything closer than five. High index plastic is a godsend!

    LAMary, my mother, brother, and I did do the dumpster search for my brother’s retainer once. Of course, he picked “bag lunch day” as the day to do it, which meant that the whole dumpster was filled with identical brown sacks that each had to be opened and inspected. We did find it, down among the bottom layer of bags; I was very impressed by my mother’s tenacity making us go through an entire dumpster to find the thing.

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  50. DeborahFroelich said on June 2, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    I grew up in the country. Household waste water drained directly from a pipe into the “crick” behind the house. I saved up to buy my first pair of hard contact lenses at age 16. Dropped a lens down the drain. My dad put a nylon stocking over the end of the drain pipe, we turned on the taps full blast. He caught the lens. I cleaned it and carried on.

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  51. Jolene said on June 2, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    That dumpster searched happened in my family too–twice, w/ the same niece. The first search was successful, but the second involved replacement w/ allowance deductions.

    I never had glasses until I turned 40 and needed bifocals, and even now, my correction for distance is relatively minor. But the ophthalmologist who prescribed bifocals was not sanguine about contacts, so I didn’t pursue it back then. Listening to all these struggles, I can’t say I have huge regrets. I’ve always wanted to have a wardrobe of glasses too, but I find that, once I get adjusted to the way a particular pair fits, it’s distracting to wear something else.

    My biggest problem w/ glasses has been losing them. Especially in the early years of wearing them, when even reading w/o them was possible if not comfortable, I was forever taking them off and leaving them somewhere–and not always someplace where I could find them again.

    Now that I’m more dependent, that doesn’t happen so often, which is good, because finding rimless glasses can be quite a trick. There’s just not enough there there to make them stand out from the background.

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  52. Rana said on June 2, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    There’s just not enough there there to make them stand out from the background.

    Heh. My vision is so crappy, that this applies to my dark-framed glasses too. They only get taken off for things like sleep or bathing, but I still have to be sure to set them on something light-colored and unpatterned, lest I be unable to find them. (One of the first things taught to the cat, in as unforgettable manner as possible, was that messing with my glasses on the nightstand is completely verboten.)

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  53. Little Bird said on June 2, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    I should also say that I’ve reached the point where I need to take my glasses OFF to read. I’m near sighted. When doing cross stitch or trying to read the labels on food or medications, I have to look under or over my glasses.
    My vision is such that neither glasses nor contacts will correct it to twenty/twenty, lucky me.

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  54. Deborah said on June 2, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    My sister had to get glasses when she was in 5th grade and I was jealous of the attention she got from them. I wanted glasses so bad back then, it’s funny now. My far seeing ability is still perfect, that’s why the one contact for reading works so well for me. I can’t read without the contact or readers at all, it has gotten steadily worse since I was about 45 or so. I got my first readers while on a trip in Italy, they were the coolest thing. I promptly lost them after I returned to the US. I was bereft, they were irreplaceable. I recently lost my favorite pair of readers on my trip to NC, they blew off of a picnic table and I didn’t figure it out until we were many miles away. Bummer.

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  55. Dexter said on June 3, 2011 at 1:11 am

    Dumpster diving. Once I was operating a progressive die automatic punch press. I was inspecting a newly made piece-part, and I noticed about half the information was missing. A die section had loosened up and shaken off the die shoe and cascaded into the scrap tub, and by the time I had noticed it, the scrap hauler had dumped the tub into the giant bin outside in below-zero temperatures.
    This job was hot, the parts needed to be shipped that same day, and a die section was apparently in this huge bin half-filled with sharp jagged strip steel remnants. So, I was dispatched to the great outdoors. It took me four motherfucking hours, but I found the goddam thing. Praise for the hero? Ha! “What the fuck took you so long? Jesus Christ! Now we gotta work four hours overtime and get these part stamped.”

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  56. prospero said on June 3, 2011 at 6:14 am

    Eysight is a gift from God, I’d give it up for sound, and hearing, in a minute, If somebody forced a choice. No question. No brainer. I;d take music instead of not seeing, and peop;e’s voices. I’s rather be blind than be deaf. If you can’t listen to when the Levy

    Breaks just before bed, You’re life is diminished. Id miss movies a lot, but music way more.

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  57. del said on June 3, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    (When the Levy Breaks) or the Rain Song.

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