EYESIGHT TO THE BLIND
(Written in 2006)
If you've always had perfect vision,
you may not understand some of this.
My parents were told that I was nearsighted
and bought me my first pair of glasses when I was about six.
Maybe younger... I'm not sure.
The opticians said that new prescriptions were needed every six months,
which was a way to sell more glasses.
So, twice a year, stronger glasses were put on me.
The walls looked curved, the universe was distorted,
and my eyesight weakened with each new pair.
They usually made me dizzy and nauseated,
and I now realize they were too strong.
I did well as an athlete in school sports,
even though I had to wear a heavy metal and foam shield
that was hard to keep in place.
They didn't seem to have the light plastic ones then.
It was like peering out a prison window.
Nobody mentioned contact lenses.
They were made of wood in those days.
In high school
I couldn't always read what was written on the board,
but I didn't want to admit it,
so I dazzled them with my personality.
Hey...maybe that's when I became an entertainer!
Later, when I went into show business,
I wore cool prescription shades, contact lenses,
or granny glasses.
They became part of my image.
I never really liked them, but without them I was legally blind.
To me, looking through glasses was like being inside,
looking at the world through a window.
Not really being out in it.
Sometimes I'd go outside and take the glasses off,
and even though things were a just a blur,
it felt more real with the breeze on my eyes
and no barrier between me and my surroundings.
I faked my way through school, struggled through football, baseball,
and even a season of pro hockey.
I performed on stages for thousands of people,
with those eye crutches, and after all that...
suddenly I can see perfectly!
It's like a miracle!
My doctor performed two brief surgeries in the past month,
and I now have 20-20 vision...no Ben Franklins.
I can see like a mink!
I've been walking around the neighborhood
looking at the highest leaves on trees,
the textures of flowers and grass,
and especially the colors,
which are a lot brighter than I thought.
I took a good look at Misty and she's still beautiful.
Today I drove the car for the first time in about a month,
and I didn't hit as many people as I used to.
It may be a screwed-up world, but I'm glad to be in it.
Copyright Jack Blanchard, 2006.