'Hey -- Four Eyes!'
My options to address the problem were surgery, wearing a patch over one eye (yarrr), or (horror of horrors) glasses. I opted for the piratical potential of the patch, my mother went in the direction of glasses. She didn’t understand fourth grade boys. Glasses=instant dork. “Hey, four-eyes/goggles/specs …” Nothing, absolutely nothing cool about glasses.
But, I got the glasses, was left looking like Ralphie in A Christmas Story, and had to go right into my teen years wearing the damn things. After the rise of Buddy Holly, glasses were a little cooler, but they were still an encumbrance. Regardless however, by maturity the cast was cured and I could shuck the lenses. There had never been anything wrong with my vision. Anyway, once the glasses were gone I felt as liberated as does a big breasted woman when she removes her bra – I’ve been told. I got to let my eyes ‘hang loose’, too. I finally looked 'way cool.'
This was all well and good until I was in my early 40s when I found that I was holding books and newspapers farther and farther away and restaurant menu writings began to resemble Sanskrit. Yes, as visits most of us, I’d developed hyperopia, or middle-aged far-sightedness. I can see far away things brilliantly, but up-close is a different story. So, again I had to visit the world of specs.
But, it’s OK. I only use so-called ‘readers’ that can be picked up at a pharmacy or dollar store for reasonable cost. Consequently, I have about five pairs of the things. Meanwhile, I can still drive without glasses, can go for a walk unencumbered, or watch TV. Not a big deal.
What is a big deal, however, is the abject failure of assorted bodies to recognize this reality. Those who produce certain things, like telephone directories, or instructions on products, are either too young or too stupid to know that a sizeable chunk of their demographic cannot read whatever words have been printed on whatever.
It came to me again yesterday when I decided to have some Cream of Wheat for breakfast. I got out the box and was reading the instructions (I know how to make it; I just cannot remember the proportion of water to cereal). Yet, even with my glasses on, I could not read the measurement on the back of the box. I had to go into the living room to fetch my magnifying glass, which I keep handy nowadays.
This is ludicrous. Why should I have to do that? I’m not in my dotage by a long shot, and I pity those who are, because it must be even worse.
This reality became apparent recently when, in the city of Victoria (where, until a short time ago, I had resided on a part-time basis) a new telephone directory was created. A new directory with reduced-size print. How inconsiderate. The mean age in Victoria (Canada’s retirement heaven) is about 94. Therefore, those who would be most likely to scan the directory are prevented from doing so without some heavy-duty seeing aids.
There was such an outcry that the directory morons have conceded defeat and have suggested next year’s version will have bigger print.
So, I supposed there is some sort of economy in reducing print size. But, if it costs more to print bigger, then do so. After all, even if it doesn’t cost more, you’ll tell us that it does and jack up the prices anyway.
Anyway, who do you print things for, anyway? Judging by some of the recently published school scores, it is only people past a certain age who are capable of reading in the first place.
OK, the last point was a cheap-shot, but I enjoyed it anyway, and it's my blog.
Labels: The visual horrors of middle age