It is one of those moments in life when you are jolted by the reality that the train is moving down the track.
I was reading a novel one day without difficulty, but when I picked it up the next day, the words had grown together. It was if my eyesight had suddenly and without warning decided to take a step sideways.
Discussing the situation with those around me, the consensus was it might be time to visit the eye doctor and that I might need, horror of horrors, glasses.
The was a serious blow to someone who has had 20-10 vision and what the Air Force called extraordinary night vision, which allowed me to see things in the dark at distances when others could not see anything at all. That came in handy once or twice.
I told my golf partner about the diminishing eyesight and that I might need glasses and his response was, "Why didn't you get them last week and you might not have four-putted and cost us $5." I wanted to take a swing at him with a sand wedge but I figured I'd probably miss.
So off to doctor I go with words like ‘bifocals' and ‘farsighted' circling around in my head like vultures over a dead wildebeest.
I sat down in front of the evil-looking machine and was told by a very nice technician to peer through the periscope-looking device and read the letters on the bottom line.
I looked into the machine, found the bottom line, and said, "You're kidding."
She pushed a button and told me to try again. I read the letters and she nodded approvingly and said I did fine, and then it dawned on me the letters were about the size of the writing on an insurance billboard.
Then the doctor came in to complete the examination. I was told I had no degenerative problems and my eyesight was fine and the recent problems reading fine print was what the doctor termed "a minor and slight diminishing of eyesight due to the normal aging process." That certainly sounded better than, "Your eyes are going down the toilet you old goat."
One of the issues with glasses for someone who had never had them is, what do you do with the silly things? Carry them in a shirt pocket and they fall out, put them in your pants pocket and you crush them.
I decided to call a friend who has been wearing glasses since he was 6-years-old. I told him of my situation and he started laughing hysterically. I quickly interjected that my glasses were just reading glasses.
Being the fellow he is he stopped laughing long enough to say, "reading glasses are just the first step on the road to the bottom of Coke bottles." I thanked him for his sensitive support and before hanging up told him I hoped his car broke down during rush hour.
And if you don't need glasses all the time then how do you remember to take them with you? I suspect forgetting to carry your glasses is the sign of another problem so I did not dwell upon that one.
The one phrase you do learn quickly when you slip your glasses on is to say, "I only need these for the fine print." But you know in your heart the glasses will get thicker as the fine print gets smaller.
Such is the ebb and flow of life.
So for everyone out there, young or old, looking at the prospect of having to get glasses, it is not the end of the world.
And even if it is, at least you can see it coming.
Ric Latarski is a freelance writer who writes on a variety of topics and can be reached at Rlatarski@aol.com.