b Papa Dog's Blog: This is a Job for the Fab Five. Oh Boy, is it Ever.

Papa Dog's Blog

A Thing Wherein I Infrequently Write Some Stuff

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

This is a Job for the Fab Five. Oh Boy, is it Ever.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that even were I in possession of a good fortune, I should not be allowed to use it to purchase glasses I picked out myself. Nobody knows this better than I. I had the same pair of glasses from 1986, when Tower Records bought them for me because I got punched in the face while taking out their garbage, until 1994 (or thereabouts) when it suddenly occurred to me that maybe they were getting a little old. The fact that they were bent in the middle and didn’t sit on my nose properly was what I like to call a clew. I guess the glasses were okay, or at least bordering on okay, when I bought them in 1986. The LMS was less vocal about matters of style than Mama Dog, but I’m sure she would have said something if she thought they were grotesque. By the time they were considered too hideous for public use, I had nobody to let me know.

Fortunately, when the style memo made it belatedly to my in-box, I had a willing and able posse to accompany me to the optician’s in Metairie and tell me what glasses I would be buying. Thank you very much, CAJ and SR. I remember having a long conversation with CAJ about this one night, where I tried to explain how it was impossible for me to have an aesthetic opinion about glasses and how it baffled me that other people seemed to have such opinions instinctively. “They’re all glasses-shaped,” quoth I. “What difference does it make which pair of glasses-shaped things you get? It’s like…shit…it’s like making a big deal about what toaster you buy.” From her reaction, I understood that the mystery was deeper than I had known. Apparently there are people who care what toaster they buy, and she was one of them. I tried for about an hour to come up with a household item that she could see in purely utilitarian terms, which she could select without regard to its appearance, and I came up empty. Each and every thing, apparently, was evaluated according to its appearance. I felt like a twelfth century Saxon peasant trying to divine the purpose of a parking meter. Toilet seat? You care what your toilet seat looks like? The thing you sit on to evacuate your bowels is the subject of an aesthetic choice? Madness!

In the years since then, of course, I’ve had Mama Dog to advise me on eyewear.* Last year at this time, great with child, she was unable to accompany me to the optician’s near my office to tell me which frames I’d be getting for my new glasses. Luckily, CAJ had also moved to the Bay Area in the years between, and was working not far from my office. She was summoned to make the decision for me, and it’s the pair she picked out that fell apart in Saint Babs a few weeks back. When I went to the eye doctor last week, the optician had scarpered before I could order my new pair. Just as well, thought I, since I’d have no idea how to make the selection anyway. I said I’d come back the next day. The next day, work was heinous busy and I forgot to take a lunch hour. The day after was the same thing. Yesterday I remembered to take a lunch hour but forgot to go order glasses during it. Finally today, I bit the bullet and for the first time in…well, maybe ever, I’m not sure…went out to buy glasses without having someone along to tell me what to get. I had considered drafting CAJ again, but had hit upon a strategy that seemed foolproof. I’d just tell the optician to give me the same frames I was wearing.

He looked at them and frowned. “We’ve never had these,” he said.

“Oh.” I was stymied. “I thought I got these here.” He shook his head. I wasn’t even sure which pair of glasses I was wearing, but they must have been ones with frames I got in Berkeley. “Well, how about something similar,” I said. “Comparable.” He nodded and showed me a couple of different pairs then got busy on the telephone. The guy’s always busy on the telephone. I looked at the two pairs. They were both glasses-shaped. How am I supposed to give a shit which one I get? Finally I decided that the one in my left hand was darker and therefore more similar to the ones I was wearing. I went with that.

Later, I called Mama Dog and told her, “I ordered some glasses, but it’s possible that they suck.”

“Do they look good?” she asked.

“Well, that’s the problem. I have no way of knowing.” She does know me, yes. But sometimes I think she still can’t quite believe what she knows.
*As well as footwear, menswear, underwear, and everywear. I will not hide from the fact that she dresses me.


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