Friday, March 22, 2013

                                        Jeepers Peepers

Now where did I put them this time?
I hate the dang things but I can't do without them. I own dozens of them, but they elude me. If you're over 40, then you know what I'm talking about.
Where the heck are my reading glasses?
No way am I going to get one of those little colored cords that dangle them around your neck. And I don't have the right build for latching one earpiece into a breast pocket. I refuse to push a pair up on top of my head. And everyone knows you can't leave magnifiers in front of your eyes when you get up for a glass of water. Makes it dizzier than a stomped ant, that's what it does.
Why the heck do I have to wear reading glasses?
All my life I've had a hate-hate relationship with glasses. In first grade my teacher noticed that I couldn't seem to see the writing on the blackboard. Actually, I couldn't see the blackboard. So at the tender age of 6, I wound up with pink plastic spectacles, and the four-eyes jokes began.
When I reached my teens I rebelled. I hid my black plastic cat-eye glasses in a drawer and started feeling my way through a world without distinguishing details like automobiles and large statuary. But in my twenties I realized that I had to see in order to work, so I opted for the John Lennon look.
And in my gold wire rims I resembled John a lot. Too bad my singing was worse than my eyesight.
Next it was contact lens. Hard plastic ones that felt like the Rose Window at Westminster Abby in my eyes. Soft contacts worked better but I lost more down the bathroom sink than I ever managed to wedge between my eyelids.
I tried laser surgery, and I was free at last. Not only did the miracle surgery fix my far-sightedness but it corrected my reading vision as well. It was a miracle!
Then came middle age and the miracle faded, sort of like one of those Jesus images on a grilled cheese sandwich. As time wore on, my eyesight got all sort of soggy and vague.
So I started picking up reading glasses here and there. And there. And over there. I became obsessed with them. It didn't matter whether it was a funky pair in a dollar store or a wildly expensive set of peepers in a specialty shop. I bought them all. I was searching for a pair that didn't remind me of first grade and little-boy taunts of "four-eyes, four-eyes!"
I tried those little slitty ones that come in cases no wider than a pencil. I couldn't see through the frames. Some people think it makes you look intelligent to perch a pair on your nose. I'd rather have a parrot on my nose or maybe even a wart.
I carry a fancy pair in my purse with blue rhinestones on the rims for reading menus in restaurants. I have a pair of sparkly faux diamond ones as backup and a pair of throw-down, wire-framed ones in the glove compartment of my car.
There are a pair of pink sparkly ones on my desk at home that look a lot like my first-grade peepers. I put them there to keep me humble. And for a reason I can't explain, I still have the black cat-eye glasses from ninth grade.
I never throw a pair away until they get all whomper-jawed on my nose - usually after I have sat on them. My favorite ones reside in a place of honor on the arm of my easy chair next to my Kindle. They're red with a gold design. They're the bomb. I wish I could remember where I bought them and I'd see whether they come in other colors. Unfortunately, along with poor reading vision and a host of other age-related issues, my short-term memory is going too. Want to know about me painting my hands red with Mom's fingernail polish when I was three? I remember it perfectly and the spanking I got after that. Wondering what I had for breakfast this morning? I haven't a clue.
And that's why, I think, I'm in this fix. At every one of my eyesight stations I fumble for something that isn't there. You know how it is. You carry them off with you and then you put them somewhere and you don't remember where you put them. It's maddening.
Somewhere in this house there is a huge pile of reading glasses - shiny ones, plain ones, sparkly ones, wire ones - they're all in a jumble together. And they're snickering at me. I can hear the little giggles but I can't find them.
My kids used to laugh too. But my daughter bought her first pair of readers recently and now hers are mixed with mine somewhere - oh somewhere in this house! Her first pair are almost identical to the ones I wore in first grade. No way am I calling her four-eyes.
And if I could find them right now, I'd steal them.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013



     The judge looked sternly over his bench at the woman standing before him.
     "You are charged with four counts of aggravated assault, three cases of disturbing the peace and it says here you tried to blow up a building. These are serious charges," he said. "What do you have to say for yourself?"
     "I was having a bad hair day."
     The judge sat back in his padded chair and ran his fingers through his own well-manicured mane.
     "Oh no. Well. A bad hair day. What are we going to do about this?"
     "Don't you just hate it when that happens?" asked the defense attorney."Some days you get up and look in the mirror and you know you may as well blow up a building."
     The judge looked down at the defendant.
     "Have you tried that new mousse made of cherry pits and milkweed? Does wonders for split ends. One of the prosecutors told me about it a couple of weeks ago and I can already tell the difference."
     The prosecutor held up his hands.
     "Your honor, I had no idea about the circumstances surrounding this offense. The arresting officer didn't say a word to me about the frizzies. I suggest probation on this case, on the condition that the defendant condition."
     A bad hair day. It can happen to anyone. And in this time of acute hair fashion awareness, it has replaced PMS an excuse for any wrongdoing.
     When I was a kid back in Callisburg nobody had a bad hair day. Certainly not men, who either relied on a combover or flat top wax. Girls and women rolled their hair on pink brush rollers and pinned each one directly to their heads with pink plastic pins. Then they went to bed. The brushes in the rollers embedded themselves in your scalp. The pins pierced your skull and entered your brain. The next morning when you pried the things out of your cranial cavity, and you had industrial strength curl. And if the hair threatened to go flat, you simply reinstated the curlers and wore them to school.
     Some of the girls with long hair wore round cardboard frozen orange juice containers on their heads. With the little round metal ends punched out they became maxi-rollers. Some girls never took these out of their hair and I can only assume they thought the empty-orange-juice-container look was better than mini-hair.
     A few years later good hair became big hair, especially in Texas. It meant back-combing your tresses high into the air and emptying a can of something called "Spray Net" over it. Then you let it dry and gently combed the top layer into a helmet shape. A tornado couldn't move that hairdo. Older women of a certain religious leaning often put things called rats into their long hair, making a series of fascinating bumps that gave the appearance of several small animals burrowed in there.
     My mother got her hair "fixed" once a week. As though it were broken. She came home from "The Hair Box" or "Leona's Kut N Kurl" complaining that the hair was too short, too long, too full or too flat. Obviously, it was not fixed at all. But that didn't stop her from preserving the do. Every night before she went to bed she would wrap a pink stretchy thing around her head to protect the curl she didn't like in the first place.
     Back then you had your Spray Net. You had your Dippity Do. But you didn't have hair products called "Bed Head." And you couldn't have made a down payment on a house with your toiletries bill either. Or resorted to plastique on a bad hair day.