Jewish World Review Nov. 27, 2001 / 12 Kislev, 5762

Lori Borgman

Lori Borgman
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Consumer Reports

Glasses bring age into focus -- IT'S just a matter of time before I will have more pairs of glasses than I have pairs of shoes. Last week, my middle child suggested I retire my oldest pair of glasses. "I'd sooner tell your dad I was the one who threw away his childhood baseball cards," I said.

Sure, the glasses might be a little old. OK, so I've had the glasses longer than I've had the kid. They're vintage '80s, brown frames, with huge oversized lenses. I believe her comment was something about me looking like a "Sally Jesse wannabe." Shows you what she knows. Sally's glasses were red.

I keep a pair of bifocal sunglasses in the car. They're my best all-in-one pair of glasses because I can read fine print on maps and see Clearance Sale signs from far enough away that I don't have to slam on the brakes and fish tail in order to make a turn. They rank great for seeing, but rotten for comfort. They pinch my nose and squeeze behind my ears. Even so, my family insists I wear them whenever I drive. Why? Because, I quote, "It's embarrassing when you keep waving at strangers in other cars."

"What are you talking about?" I ask.

"Mom, you just waved your arm off and mouthed, "Hi Susan, let's do lunch!" at a long-haired guy in a van with no shirt, a skull and crossbones tattooed on his arm and a pair of fuzzy dice hanging from his rear view mirror."

"So, when did being friendly become a crime?" I retort.

My newest pair of glasses are "vanity bifocals." The line between the two lenses is invisible, theoretically, making me look younger than bifocals with lines. This theory must also assume that my crows feet and dark circles under the eyes are invisible as well. The problem I have with these glasses is that I have to bob my head up and down to get just the right area of lens aimed at what I want to see. The commentary when I wear these glasses is that I jerk my head around so much that I look like a chicken pecking for feed.

My two pairs of reading glasses both fit well and work well. One pair I paid big bucks for from the doctor and the other pair cost about $15 and came off a rack by the free brochures on vitamins at the drug store. I used to know which one was which, but now I can't tell a difference. My critics say they are both fashionably acceptable (whew!). I keep one pair by the microwave and one pair on a bedside table.

The pair by the bedside table occasionally draw criticism, but only because I simultaneously wear them with my Sally Jesse glasses. If I'm reading in bed and watching the news on the television at the same time, I keep both pairs parked on top of my head and alternate back and forth depending on which pair I need. This arrangement has been labeled "very strange." I call it practical.

"So, Mom, you juggle at least five pairs of glasses. You have one pair in your bedroom, one pair in the car, two pair in your purse and a pair in the kitchen. Why don't you just get contacts?"

"Because, dear, when you wear contacts you have to mess with things like a carrying case and lens solution. And believe me, the last thing I want to do is complicate my life."

JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids. To comment, please click here.

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© 2001, Lori Borgman