I have a dirty little secret that’s hidden in plain sight, and it’s on my head. No, it is not an ill-fitting toupee or the foot of an undeveloped twin protruding from my left cheek. Then again, both of those would be fairly readily noticeable, wouldn’t they?
I’ve had this secret since the sixth grade. I just never fully acted on it until the past few years: I love my spectacles. I now own eight pairs in my current prescription. Yes. I said “eight,” as in 8.
Hey! The number “8” looks like a pair of glasses sideways! Cool!
Now, before you pick up the phone and call A&E to volunteer me for an upcoming episode of “Intervention,” hear me out.
I always wanted to wear glasses when I was a kid. I have no idea why. Every year when my mother took me in to have my eyes examined, I would always hope the doctor would tell her that I needed them.
Finally, in the sixth grade, I hit the jackpot! I went to school the next day and excitedly shared the news with one of my friends by curling my fingers into circles and putting them over my eyes like glasses.
I still remember getting my first pair. I put them on, stepped outside, and looked around. My parents and I realized how much my vision had deteriorated when I commented about how well I could see the individual leaves on the trees. (My Dad claims I said, “The trees have leaves!”) It was magical.
What was not magical was the frustration of having to settle year after year for frames I didn’t necessarily hate, but that I definitely did not love.
After years of settling, I finally found Smith’s Opticians. I felt like I had been clawing my way through a parched desert and had come upon a beautiful oasis flowing with sweet, cold water, shaded by palm trees and furnished with cute little bamboo shacks with central air conditioning, indoor plumbing, a fully-stocked kitchen, cable TV, Wi-Fi, a Playstation and Netflix! Also, I’m pretty sure I heard an angelic choir singing, but that could have just been my car’s satellite radio. That would explain why they were singing techno…
If you want your eyes examined or you need contacts, you’ll have to go somewhere else because Smith’s Opticians doesn’t do that. (Contacts? Are you kidding me? Shame on you!)
They do glasses, and that’s all they do, but they do them well!
If you’re looking for the latest styles, they’ve got that. If you’re looking for retro stuff, they’ve got that, too. You can go with new stuff that looks old or old stuff that really IS old. That’s called “old new stock” – new frames from earlier decades that were in storage somewhere and were never sold at the time… until now!
If you’re not quite sure what you’re looking for, that’s okay, too. The folks there know their stock and they can hook you up with something you’ll love.
And if that’s not enough awesomeness for you, their prices beat the heck out of all those franchise places! I have a fairly strong prescription, but I can usually get two unique frames for the same price as one ordinary (translation = boring) pair at a Big Box store.
Because who wants to look like everybody else? Not I!
Most people just get one or, at most, two pairs of glasses. I, on the other hand, after years of having to settle for glasses that just didn’t fit the bill, went a little nuts when I found this place.
I got hooked. I got one fantastic pair. And then another. And another. And another. Before I knew it, I had… Well, you already know how many pairs I have.
Because when you’ve been thirsty for so long and you wrap your hands around that big, beautiful bottle of deliciously cold water, you tend to chug-a-lug.
In the world of addiction, people who assist you with your addiction in one way or another are referred to as “enablers.” Let me introduce you to mine:
My Crack, Er… Spectacle Dealer, Philip Brown
Philip is the owner. He bought the business from Mr. Smith, which is why it’s called Smith’s Opticians and not Brown’s Opticians.
“You can try these on for free, but if you want to take them home, you’ll have to PAY. And you’ll be back for more. Again and again. Mwa, hah, hah!”
Carlos, Philip’s Right-Hand Man & Spectacle-Pushing Compatriot
When it comes to glasses, Carlos knows his stuff. I can walk into the store and Carlos just about knows what I want, which means that either Carlos has extrasensory powers or I need to branch out some. Oh yeah, and Carlos knows me by name.
I had a conversation with my dad recently during which I revealed to him how many pairs of glasses in my current prescription I own.
“Are you crazy?,” he asked. (Thanks for the support, Dad!)
“No,” I said defiantly. “Some people buy shoes. I buy eyewear. I have to wear glasses and this is how I express myself.”
That shut him up, and believe me, that’s not easy to do. (Love you, Dad!)
At least if I DO end up on A&E’s “Intervention,” I’ve got some fabulous eyewear to show off.
Hey, my phone’s ringing. It’s Carlos! My latest spectacles are in! YES!