Callaghan and I went to the optometrist on Saturday, about a year overdue for eye exams. On my part, I’d been procrastinating because I knew I could no longer get away without hearing the word “bifocals.” Because in the last year and a half, my reliance on reading glasses ruined it for my distance glasses. My distance vision is now better without my current prescription, and that shocking realization finally landed me in the optometrist’s chair of bifocal doom.

My exam was uneventful. Callaghan was in the room, as I’d been in the room for his exam, and the optometrist joyfully shared her findings with him as she scrutinized my eyeballs.

“Look! She has a scar on this iris, an old one, probably from a chemical burn,” she said to him, thus divulging my unfortunate run-in with some caustic liquid in the Army motor pool of my first permanent party post in Germany back in 1988. I don’t remember what the liquid was. I just remember being rushed to the infirmary to get my eye rinsed out.

Callaghan stepped over to view my chemical burn eye scar through the microscope thing eye optometrists use to peer into your soul plus all of your past lives.

“Oh yeah,” he said. “It looks like a slug.”

Great. My husband saw a slug permanently etched onto my eyeball. Is nothing sacred? Thanks, optometrist lady.

But really, we loved her. She was awesome and hilarious, though she did, indeed, say “bifocals” to me. To us. Callaghan needs them, too! Haha!

Then we had the whole discussion about our options.

Bifocals are visible glasses within glasses. “Bifocals” is a euphemism for THE WEARER IS OLD.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a wuss about aging. I have nothing against being old enough to need bifocals. That word, though. Bifocals.

We also had an option to get “progressives,” which is a euphemism for THE WEARER IS OLD AND IN DENIAL. It’s where the eyeglass lens is invisibly sectioned off, with each section differing according to where you look. Multiple prescriptions can merge to create one-stop-shopping lenses that look like regular glasses.

The optometrist explained that with progressives, you get vision correction for distance, mid-range, and near. So does that make them trifocals, then? (Let’s not answer that.)

I’d mostly heard about progressives from people whose attempts to wear them met with failure. The glasses caused a headache, the glasses made them dizzy, and the glasses never behaved according to their programming. The wearer basically couldn’t see and felt crappy because of them. So the wearer gives up and either settles on bifocals, or uses two different pairs of glasses, as we’ve been doing.

Granted, I probably know many people who wear progressives successfully. I just never hear about those, thanks to the human tendency to enjoy telling negative stories more than positive ones. It’s hard to get something sensational out of good news.


Has a more enticing ring to it than:


Our progressive glasses are on order, and we should be receiving them within two weeks. My beloved reading glasses are about to get much less use.


Reading glasses

Reading glasses


Now read this post again while listening to Queen’s “Bicycle Race.” When Freddie sings, “I want to ride my bicycle/I want to ride my bike,” hear it as “I want to wear my bifocals/I want to have six eyes.”

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