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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

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At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it. → 

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No glasses for me.

Did any of you grow up in the New York/Connecticut/New Jersey tri-state area and if you did, do you remember the “Get glasses, Alice” commercial? In which a woman walks into walls and throws herself down the stairs and trips over the dog, and all her husband can say is, “Get glasses, Alice”? And he says it over and over again? And then she obediently hops over to her local vision center and gets glasses and her husband says something asinine like, “Alice, you got glasses!” and instead of shooting him in the head, she just smiles? This commercial was on when I was in junior high. Imagine what everyone said whenever I tripped or fell or walked into things. Imagine that I tripped and walked into things pretty much every day. That commercial is BURNED INTO MY BRAIN.

My vision has always been just fine, which annoyed me, since I badly wanted glasses. In first grade I wore my sister’s glasses to school for a full week, stumbling around and pretending that at last, I could see. I don't know if this was because I wanted glasses or because I wanted to be my sister, who was ten years older and thus, the coolest being who ever walked the earth. I’m surprised I didn’t wear her bra to school the following week, exulting that finally my breasts were getting the support they needed.

I went to the eye doctor a couple of weeks ago because my eyes have stopped functioning. Within a few minutes of focusing on a computer screen or looking at paper with words on it, they simply give up. If I fight them back into focus, they tear violently, as if my computer were composed of onions. So now that my eyes were falling apart, all I could think was, all right! It’s glasses time for me!

Except no! Damn it, my vision is still breathtakingly perfect. I have fatigued my eyes to the point of total collapse, is all. All I have to do is stay far away from the computer until such time as I absolutely have to use it. (The optometrist did give me a prescription for reading glasses, but I got the distinct impression that he was handing me a pretend prescription so that I would feel like a grown up and get out of there.)

The problem is, I need to use the computer all the time. I have tried not to look at the screen, but it doesn’t seem to make much of a difference. In fact right now my eyes are closed! You’re amazed at this, but it’s the truth. Now they’re open, but I’m looking out the window. No one’s out there. Where does everyone go? I bet they all have jobs. Those jerks.

I need some way to wrap this up, so let’s pretend there’s a tidy concluding paragraph here, instead of this. I have to go remove my eyes with a grapefruit spoon and immerse them in a bowl of chilled rainwater.

Reader Comments (58)

I wanted glasses and when I finally got them in middle school, I picked out the hottest pair of purple, plastic frames. Damn, I looked good.

October 26, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMel
I'm relieved to read someone else in my age group is having this unusual problem. For a good five minutes, I convinced myself I was going blind. The I spent another three congratulating myself on never getting LASIK since obviously my eyes change too frequently...
October 27, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterTippy
It's hard for me to relate, as I got glasses in first grade - and didn't want them. And sadly, my 7 month-old Henry is already somewhat nearsighted. (It's mind-blowing to me that technology can determine this!) So I imagine he'll be wearing a little pair of glasses with an elastic band to keep them on by the time he's 3.
October 27, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLouise
We still say that in my family, whenever someone bumps into something or if their glasses are dirty (my father loves to confiscate dirty glasses and clean them while saying "Get glasses, Alice."

We are all bespectacled. Likely my children will be too. Ah well. My Indian name would be "Little Wheezy Sees Nothing But Big Blurs" or, you know, something pithier.
October 27, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterFrancesca (Stuntmother)
Did you go to an opthalmologist or an optometrist? Better to go to the former, who can detect more subtle medical conditions.

On coveting glasses -- I also wanted glasses when I was a kid. Braces, too. Finally got both and discovered they weren't all that much fun. At least I don't have braces any more. ;^)
October 27, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBeth
Alice, I have another suggestion for you. Years ago I went through training to diagnose people with Irlen Syndrome. (Does it sound made up? I am not making this up! Google it!) I am not suggesting you run out and get screened, but maybe try one of the treatments. What helps people with this syndrome is to read print through various colors of transparencies--blue, yellow, pink, etc. For more severe cases, people can even have glasses (yes, glasses, Alice!!) made with lenses of the proper color. When you are screened they test you to find out which color helps the most, so you may have to try several colors.

What the hell is my point, you ask? A couple people who had been diagnosed where I taught used the colored transparencies on their computer monitors. You may not have Irlen Syndrome, but it is possible this could help with your current eye issue. Look it up, or have your husband look it up and read it to you if your eyes are twitching and watering too badly for you to read it. Then go find yourself some colored transparencies. They aren't as cool as glasses, but maybe they will allow you to keep blogging. Oh, and working. :)
October 27, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa
I had that exact reading glasses are absolutely beautiful frames and I wear them sometimes, well when going to the library or the Tea Lounger with the hope that they make me look intellectual/hot or something like that. However, they seem to make my eyes hurt more than the horrible pain that is caused by the hours at the computer...
October 28, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCaroline
I had the same experience but mine extended to night driving as well--the edges of the road seem blurry and not quite as there as they used to be. I went to an eye doc and was reassured that I still have 20/20 in one and better than that in the other yet was handed a prescription for reading glasses. I asked if my vision was so good, why did I need them? She said, "If it makes you feel better, you can get them." I decided that spending a few hundred would not make me feel better, particularly if I wasn't going to be pronounced a menace to society if I went glass-less a few more years.

I also tried to fake a bad eye exam when I was 10 so I could have glasses like my best friend. The doc pulled my mom in and called me on trying to fake poor vision. She tells that story to this day.
October 28, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterErin

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