Lately I have been fantasizing about cosmetic surgery. Before you look too closely at my photo (you know, her nose does look a little funny), let me clarify that I am considering surgery to correct my vision, not anything genetics or an inability to turn down ice cream have stuck me with.
I haven't done any research into the surgery. As far as I know the procedure involves little vision fairies that squirt magic drops in your eyes and instantly make it so you can drive at night with oncoming traffic and not feel like it's the mothership coming to take you home.
I'd rather not think about the truth, which apparently involves razor blades, lasers and your eyeballs. Eeew.
I can't think of three things that could be worse together, except perhaps Prince, singing and my eardrums.
I'm not usually squeamish. I can sit through surgery TV shows, accident re-enactments and slasher flicks where the grotesqueness of the deaths and dismemberments are matched only by the implausibility of them.
But if someone so much as comes down with a case of pinkeye, I'm turning the channel.
So it's not a well thought out plan at this point. More like just a desire to not have to wear glasses or contacts anymore.
When I was a kid it wasn't en vogue to worry much about babies' or toddlers' vision, otherwise I probably would have been wearing glasses from birth. I suppose parents figured their kids were going to run into things no matter how good their eyesight was, so why pay for glasses they'd outgrow in two weeks?
I got my first pair in elementary school, when it became clear that nothing was clear for me.
"OK Jenny, it's your turn. Look at the clock and tell me what time it is."
"Uh, there's a clock?"
"Yes. It's above the chalkboard."
"Uh, there's a chalkboard?"
My hometown is small and rural enough that there wasn't an optometrist in town, just a visiting clinic that comes through a few times a year, bringing a limited selection of frames with it.
For girls' glasses, the clinic offered two options. One set of frames fit the "sugar and spice and everything nice" image. They were pastel, oval, tiny enough to be mistaken for a Barbie accessory and as fragile as the self-esteem Barbie encouraged in her owners. I didn't get those.
Mine were zoned heavy industrial, had an oddly trapezoidal shape and covered 70 percent of my face. My brother's were even worse: huge, '80s-chic monstrosities forged from recycled rebar that looked like they belonged in a Devo video.
Being from a restricted-budget household, Mom's criteria when buying things for my brother and I were "indestructible" and "they can grow into it."
This was particularly unfortunate when it came to glasses, because kids' glasses not only amplify the wearers' vision, they also amplify the wearers' inherent dorkiness.
If you're a poor kid, you get the lame, heavy, ill-fitting, mass-produced glasses. The more budget conscious your family is, the more it is broadcast through your glasses because they don't get replaced when they should. By the time I was in high school mine had a Christmas tree appearance festooned with lenses that looked frosted from all the scratches, colored wires replacing the screws, shiny tape reinforcing the ear pieces and horror upon horrors one of those elastic bands that go around your head to hold the mangled frames on your face (which I of course removed as soon as I left the house).
Glasses also amplify any lack of coordination you have. If you're a kid who's bad at sports it is only a matter of time before you take a ball to the face. With glasses, not only do you get the black eye, broken nose and/or fat lip, you also get the outline of your glasses imprinted into your face.
Later in high school we finally got to switch to contacts, which were immensely better than glasses but still posed their own challenges.
This was in the days when wearing contacts required a bachelor's degree in chemistry. There was one solution for cleaning, another for rinsing, drops for rewetting, different containers for short-term vs. long-term storage, special enzyme-dissolving tablets that had to be used once a week and woe to the sleep-deprived, late-for-school teenager who mixed them up. The consequence for mishaps was a burning disk of fire that felt like it was eating a hole in your cornea.
When viewed in that light, the creepiness of the eye surgery can't compare to all the years of physical and mental anguish caused by glasses and contacts.
But until those vision fairies carry a full dose of anesthesia, I'll stick with just my hindsight being 20-20, and leave my current vision as hazy as Prince's fashion sense.
Jenny Neyman is a freelance writer who lives in Soldotna. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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