“The Eyes Have It” by James Jay Schifrin


image016Here’s a way to beat those holiday depressions. Go out and buy yourself a new pair of eyeglasses. 

For the past 12 years I’ve been listening to everybody tell me how bad I looked in my Woddy Allen glasses. Last week, a perfect stranger even stopped me on the street.

“Here,” the man said, thrusting a wad of bills into my hand. “Go buy yourself a new pair of glasses. Yours make you look like a cross between Darth Vader and Norman Murdock.”

So I went to the House of Astigmatism. You see them on TV all the time. They’re the ones with 3,245 convenient offices. I’d never been to Billings, Montana before.

“You’re the people who sell glasses for one low price?” I asked. “$12.50? None higher?”

“Absolutely!” the licensed practical optician assured me. “That is, unless you want the kind with prescription lenses. Then it’ll be a little more. Anywhere from $79.95 to $248.50, depending on the extras.”

“Great!” I said.

Then I spent the next three days trying to find a pair of frames that didn’t make me look like a refugee from a gay bar.

“Try these,” the licensed practical optician said every five minutes as he kept trying to hand me a pair of frames exactly like the ones he was wearing.

“No thanks,” I finally replied. “I once had a dentist with an overbite who made me a set of teeth just like his.”

When I got back to town, I ran into the same stranger who’d given me the money for my new glasses. “You look great,” the man said. “A real improvement. Now you look like a cross between Norman Murdock and Darth Vader.”

image030This op-ed column first appeared in the Mt. Washington Press on December 30, 1981.