Just call me four eyes

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My father had incredible eyesight. He could see, with detail, things so far away other people would have to use binoculars to experience the same.

And I prided myself on the fact that I inherited that trait.

I was the kid in school who liked to show off when the school nurse from the educational unit drove out with her charts every spring. An obnoxious young Melanie would beg for a more challenging chart so she could demonstrate her super human powers.

No glasses or contacts for me! I have always been able to read the tiniest of print and notice objects from very, very far away.

When I went to get a driver’s license, I proudly rattled off the letters to the examiners with hopes of getting attention. It usually only ended with an eye roll and a look that seemed to mean, “Oh, another one of those. I hate my job.”

Because of my prowess in the world of seeing talent, I never . . . ever . . . had an eye exam with a licensed practitioner. I reasoned that I didn’t have to because I was so superior.

Heck, though, I deserved great eyesight.

My sense of hearing is horrible, always has been. That’s well documented . . . just ask my family and co-workers. What? What did you say?

My sense of taste leans toward always needing salt.

My sense of feel is distorted as the ends of my fingers don’t really detect intense heat any longer, after years of handling hot pans and repeated subsequent burns. I don’t need the hot pad.

My sense of smell isn’t the greatest because I think Vicks vapor rub and Pledge furniture polish put off lovely scents.

So relishing my uncanny ability to see is really the only joy I got out of this body.

Well, for awhile.

As they say, all good things must come to an end.

I’m not sure when it started. It was so gradual, I didn’t realize it was happening.

I found myself straining here and there to read a phone book. The font is so small, though, I reasoned, that no person, ever, could easily read those words and numbers. Thank the Lord, phone books don’t exist any longer.

I read a chart for a driver’s license and wasn’t quite as sharp. I decided I must have just been tired that day.

Over the course of a few years, I found it a little more challenging to read ingredients on food products.

But it was never a big deal.

Then came the day when my former co-workers exclaimed they could read my column from across the room while I typed on my computer.

“What do you mean?” I asked, as they laughed.

“My gosh, the font is so big they could probably read it from the space station!” they exclaimed.

I looked at my settings, which yes, I had gradually been increasing. And it was set on Times News Roman, size 24.

The boss got me a super-sized monitor, to accommodate my growing fonts.

And I realized I was going to need an arm extension, as I held a document as far away from my face as possible so I could maybe remotely see what it said.

I found myself dizzy and in a fog after commissioners’ meetings. With my head down and writing for long periods of time, my eyes could barely adjust enough for me to drive back to the office.

I complained for months yet denied anything was wrong.

And then friends and family finally proclaimed what everyone was thinking but I wasn’t saying . . . “You need glasses.”

“No,” I argued. “I’ve always been able to see really well.”

I procrastinated.

I tried to reason that it wasn’t necessary.

I didn’t admit that I was actually a little scared to go to the eye doctor – heck, I had no idea what would happen because I had never been to one. For all I knew, they were going to poke and prod in my eye like alien abductors.

No matter how much I tried to deny it . . . the reality was too clear.

It was time for glasses.

I had the eye exam – I’m happy to report no horrifying things went into my eyeballs and there were only little puffs of air. It really wasn’t a bad experience at all.

Picking out frames wasn’t nearly as painful as I expected. Then again, I enlisted some help because I really have no form of reference or taste in that arena.

As I sit here writing, I’m wearing the glorious things on my face.

I can actually see the words I am typing.

It took a while, but I got used to them. I have come to rely on them. If I leave them behind — today — it’s terrifying.

Sure, I leave them lay in weird places and waste time looking for them because I’m now helpless without their help.

I have a tendency to touch the lenses way too often so they are usually smudged and hard to see through – I can’t have enough of those handy little wipes.

I can’t drive with them on, I can’t see across the room with them on . . . so there is a lot of on, off, on, off, on, off.

But I can see these words as I write them.

Just call me four eyes. It was finally time.


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