I Can See it So Clearly Now

Focusing on the solution

By Luke Robinson

When I was in first grade, I received some pretty bad news. Already saddled with a portly physique and loner-ish personality, my recent eye appointment dictated that I was in dire need of glasses.

Now, having to wear glasses at age 7 in 1979 was about as cool as having to use prescription deodorant. Not one company world-wide had invented good looking frames for a first grader at that time. They only came in various shades of brown and were made from enough plastic to choke a gaggle of sea turtles. However unpopular I was before I got glasses, I was now unpopular AND pitied!

Of course, I desperately needed the darn things. My vision had deteriorated to the point where I was using sonic vibrations to make my way to class. The inside of my frames had the words, “If found, return to the Hubble Telescope Station” inscribed on them.

My therapist and I both agree that my getting glasses at such an early age led to years of pre- and post-teen angst along with a deep-seeded hatred for all spectacles. Glasses, shades, monocles; you name ‘em, I didn’t like ‘em.

Fast-forwarding to the present (and after LASIK surgery in the early ‘90s), I am now the proud papa of four wonderful kids. The two oldest, unfortunately, inherited their daddy’s poor eyesight. Luckily, they aren’t quite as blind, but they both need corrective lenses day-to-day.

My youngest son (Walker), however, had not needed glasses. (Hey, that makes the score Luke 1, genetics 2,345,238!) That is until his mother called me two months ago to say that Walker had been complaining of blurry vision. She then took him to an optometrist to see just how bad things were getting.

The doctor checked the right eye. Then left. She shined lights directly into his pupils. She asked him to read the famous eye chart using different lens settings.

“Ummm… E…. K?…. L?….. 7?…. Uhhh…. Ampersand?…. I can’t make them out,” Walker lamented.

The doctor did more tests. More lens flip-flops. She dilated, hydrated and pontificated for approximately 30 more minutes.

Walker’s mom began to pace in the waiting room as she was concerned the exam wasn’t going well. That’s when the doctor came out to speak to her. His mother braced for the worst.

“Ms. Robinson,” the doctor sighed, “I am not sure what to tell you…”

There was a pregnant pause as Walker’s mom’s face froze with the ‘give-it-to-me-straight-doc’ look. Then, the doctor looked up and said, “Uhhhh…Walker has 20/20 vision.”

“Wait…,” the mother said, “20/20? That’s, like, perfect. So why is he having trouble seeing the board at school?”

“Well, the thing is…I am pretty sure he is faking,” the doctor said in a Seinfeldian manner. “I just think he WANTS glasses. So, my plan is to go back in there, give him a pair of frames with clear lenses, write you a faux prescription and see what happens.”

And that’s how the ruse began.

The plan worked. Immediately after donning the fake lenses Walker was reading the eye chart like a pro. He even got the “Made in the Vietnam, copyright 2011” part right at the bottom of the poster. Walker could see clearly now… The rain was gone… He could see aaaaaallll obstacles in his way!

Several days later, Walker’s mother was about to pick him up from school when the teacher pulled her aside. His teacher told her that Walker’s grades and overall behavior have improved dramatically with his new eyewear.

Walker’s mom broke the news that the glasses were fake, but the teacher didn’t care one iota. “It doesn’t matter!”, she whispered loudly, “Whatever he is wearing–real or fake–is working! He just needs to keep them on!”

So, after my childhood trauma and lifelong disdain for glasses, one of my offspring was so desperate to have them that he was willing to falsify his own eye tests! The irony… It is thick with this story… Thicker than my own glasses in 1979. 

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