You know it’s going to be a long day when you are quietly perusing the 67 emails that have come in over night and the temple of your very expensive glasses snaps off. Most consist of “Save 40% now” “write a me a letter of recommendation; it is due in two days” “Bake something for a kid event tomorrow” or “You forgot to fill out a form that was due yesterday.” Note that these glasses have survived being run over by an SUV, running in sultry Virginia summers, being tossed around at the swimming pool, and the not infrequent head butt from a tantruming child. But Athleta’s promise that really I can wear yoga pants all the time and save 40% was too much for these. So there was much cursing during which a few of the people closest to me who shall remain nameless assumed that my border-line hysteria was a fashion emergency, Manuel drove me to the optician when it opened. It did not seem like a good sign when the recalcitrant screw on the glasses temple takes two people to fix it. SEVENTY-FIVE minutes later I left with repaired glasses and instructions to come back and get new ones soon before they break. To add to the fun I carefully put my reading glasses case in my bag so that I could at least drown my sorrows in a trashy novel or perhaps read a work related book. But alas I failed to put the actual glasses in the case. So I was twiddling my thumbs when Nurse Brown from school called to tell me that Rebecca was in her office with malaise. Nurse Brown and I are good buddies as Rebecca has a history of malaise. It’s not unlike the academic malaise that led me to spend a good portion of high school chatting with my guidance counselor who was more interesting than what was going on in class.
And now for a public service announcement: while we are in the business of reforming healthcare, can we also make insurance pay for good glasses for people who need them. Mine are covered by neither insurance nor the state’s program for the visually impaired. That program is very interested in giving me special spatulas to flip pancakes and mirrors to put on eye make up (eye make up looks great on people with 5X bifocals) I am fortunate that I am able to afford the thousands of dollars it takes to keep me in multiple glasses. And no, the price is not in the frames and cheaper ones wont do the trick.
And for a history of science lesson, Spectacles have, of course, been around since the ancient world in some form. By the fifteenth century lenses that were used to counter the effects of myopia began to appear. By 1462 the Milanese ambassador to Florence explained that “they are made more perfectly there than any other place in Italy. Florence was then known for its production of lenses with progressive powers in five-year intervals from age 30-70.