My Enemies List

I have made many enemies in my 43 years. Math. Second dates. Cable TV installers. And at least one Auburn fan who calls into my Sportzblitz Live TV show to tell me to “keep my (bleeping) butt outta Jordan Hare Stay-d-em if’n I don’t lyk eet!”.

But my greatest enemy- the nemesis that has haunted me since first grade- has been eyeglasses. Regular ol’, run-of-the-mill spectacles.

I first needed corrective lens when I was seven years old. In those days and at that age, wearing glasses was a social death sentence. The joke was on my optometrist though; I was already universally disliked so my social status remained mostly unchanged.

My appearance, however, was altered greatly. My body took an unconventional path to growing through my early school years. I got fat first and then grew into the cellulite gradually. Wearing glasses- especially ones of my incredibly strong prescription- only helped identify me more easily as “un-date-able”.

To make matters worse, glasses frames only came in two styles back then: Plastic (and ugly) or metal (and ugly). Due to the gigantic nature of my lenses, I really needed metal frames from a purely structural perspective. My eyes were so bad that I was considered “illegally blind”. Even back then Donald Trump wanted to build a wall around my eyes.

However, I chose the plastic frames as they were the cheaper of the two options and I knew full well that I would need replacements often. I knew this because when I would get to Alex City Junior High, all of the PE classes played a sport that was to eyeglasses what bulls are to China shops. A sport we called  “Pinball”.

Not electronic, quarter-feed pinball. That’s actually fun. No this was “human pinball”. A sport where six  well-inflated volleyballs were spaced evenly across a gym’s half court line. The class would then be divided in half. A whistle would blow and the two halves would race to pick up the available balls and violent version of dodge ball would begin.

“But Luke, “ you ask, “dodge ball isn’t so bad!”. No, it’s not. It’s not so bad because in dodge ball you use those fun, larger, red-rubbery balls that have a lot of “give”.

In ACJH “Pinball”, we used the aforementioned volleyballs that were pumped up  to their near-bursting points. Some even had bone fragments which doubled as spikes lodged into the stitching from past Pinball victims. (Not really, but humor me).

The greatest Pinball player of all time- OF ALL TIME- was Brandon Belyue. He was literally a Pinball wizard. That boy could hum a volleyball through Vulcan’s backside. Brandon had these extra-long arms that had three, maybe four, elbows each to allow for more velocity on his throws. If Michael Jordan and Herschel Walker had a baby and that baby did nothing but practice throwing volleyballs until it was 21, that guy would STILL not be able to beat Brandon Belyue in Pinball.

As you have now guessed, Brandon was never on my side of half court. Thus, the need for plastic (practically disposable) glasses.

Brandon used to throw that ball up against may face with such force that my glasses would quickly be transformed into contacts. The frames would screech as they were quartered across the dusty gym floor.

Almost every day after PE, I would “MacGuyver” some method by which to pin my frames back together. You see those tiiiiiiiiny screws that joined the glasses to the frame’s arms were no match for a 5th period “Belyue-special”.

Therefore, I would have to rip off a piece of a paper towel from the boys’ bathroom (you know those paper towels that were apparently made from old Piggly Wiggly sacks, right?) and twist this small piece in-between my thumb and forefinger until it was some poor-man’s paper dowel and could fit where the missing screws used to be.

So, yes, this lady-killer used to wear glasses that were made up of at least 5%  cheap paper products.

Then came high school when I got contacts and post-college when I had LASIK so I have been sans-specs and loving it for some time now. But the specter of my spectacles still haunts me.

Unfortunately, as I was initially warned, the LASIK work begins to erode to some degree around my current age. More unfortunately, I have just recently purchased my first pair of glasses since around 1996.

Once again, I am four-eyed. A rush of traumatic childhood memories should keep this counselor I am getting ready to see busy for WEEKS!

So if you see me walkin’ by and the tears are in my eye, look away; baby look away. If we meet on the street someday and you don’t know what to say…. Just be sure to tell me to “duck” if you see Brandon Belyue.

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