Monday, January 25, 2010
My roommate handed me a pair of fake glasses she purchased at the dollar store. So fake, in fact, they didn’t even have plastic lenses. No, they were just the frames- as fake as it gets.
“They’ll make you look smarter, like you belong in a classroom.”
We were sitting in a home-made replica of an English classroom, pretending to be students so that our friend could teach us for her English teaching application. My roommate thought that in order to be a student, you have to have glasses.
The next day at school I wore my new frames. There was an empowering feeling that came along with these ‘specks.’ I saw the world like it was a movie screen—boxed in by a black border. My lectures were more inspirational, my friends wittier, my love life more dramatic. The glasses promoted me to play music and narrate in my head. People looked at me differently in my black frames. I was more sophisticated, more intelligent, more likely to whip off my glasses with one fluid motion and give someone a disappointed sort of look with my arms crossed in front of my chest.
The problem with these fake glasses is that if anyone notices that they don’t have lenses then they would have the complete opposite effect; I would look positively stupid. So it was a big gamble with only two outcomes; looking smart or looking dumb.
That day of glasses, I got 100% on two quizzes, I wrote a whole paper, and I debated politics with a Political Science major. The glasses made me smarter. I don’t think these light weight champs actually possessed superpowers to turn me into a genius. But I do think that while wearing them I was able to focus in on the objects in those little squares, and cut out all the distractions. I was there in the moment, boxed in on one thing at a time. By doing this I was able to pay closer attention to my schoolwork, the conversations I was in, and the things I was reading. It was like Dumbo’s feather- it was actually his ears that made him fly, but he thought it was a magical feather.
Glasses are traditionally associated with intelligence. The bookworms, the Computer Science majors, the valedictorians; those are the people that wear glasses. They are the ones who wear their eyes out by staring at computers screens and books. While in Elementary school, simply wearing glasses made you a target for slide, well-thought out insults, such as “Four-eyes,” “Nerd,” and “Specks.” Why are glasses regarded with so much hate?
Glasses correct vision. It doesn’t matter what kind of person you are, where you go grocery shopping, how many laps you can swim, or when you took your first step. You are either born with faulty eyes or you look directly into the sun and sizzle your corneas.
The car pulled up the driveway—I reached in the depths of my bag and pulled out my lense-less frames and fitted them perfectly around my ears under the bush of curly hair sitting atop my head. I collected my stuff, thanked my ride, and bounced from foot to foot, as I skipped to the front door of my parent’s house.
I flung the door open to announce my entrance. I heard footsteps on the stairs and I saw my dad galloping down to greet me. He saw me and stopped short.
“What are you wearing?
I merely smiled and let my fake glasses slip down my nose, in what I thought sophisticated librarians or philosophers would do.
“You look like an idiot! Why in the world would you choose, of your own free will to wear glasses when you have perfect vision? Do you even know what kind of burden it is to wear glasses?”
I first chuckled, amused by my dad’s very strong opinions. Then slowly, the more he antagonized me for my glasses usage, that movie director inside of me died.
But then I tried on his glasses and I discovered the world from his eyes. His vision was confined to two rectangles, beyond those two magnifying glasses all he could see was blurry masses. He was completely dependent on the contraption loosely placed on his face. He has to take off his glasses and replace them with prescription sunglasses every time he goes outside. My mom orders him to remove the irksome device right before a photographer counts, “Three, two, one, say cheese!” Never can he wake up and see the sun patterns on our wood floor. He has to deal with the constant jiggling as he runs.
My intentions to be a glasses-wearer were as fake as the frames. I wanted to look like someone I wasn’t. I had glorified glasses and the “intelligent” people who wore them. I never stopped and thought that glasses were more like a bothersome burden to those who actually use them to see. I don't need an object, whether it be glasses or a magic feather, to make me smarter. I just need to believe in myself, focus and eliminate distractions. Oh, and, maybe a little late night rendezvous with books might help. . .