TEAGEL OPTOMETRY, L.A. – For the first time in my life, Iâ€™m a man wearing glasses. When the optometrists learned how long it’d been since I had an eye check-up – NEVER – they were sincerely concerned that I actually operated a motor vehicle to their office. So, after a series of tests, squiggles, and strange puffs of air onto my eyeballs, Iâ€™m now a four-eyed forty-something. Just like that, I’ve got a sudden pretentiousness about me, especially when I lower them on my nose and look over the tops with an air of disgust. (They make for a great prop; my favorite line is this one from Zach Galifinakis at the 35 second mark ).
I had put it off long enough, slowly coming to the realization I couldn’t make out letters from across the room anymore, or the tiny scroll at the bottom of the television, or the fine print of possible drug side effects (Nobody said anything about it lasting four hours!). Now everything I look at is like high-def television, which looks like real life. High-def reality TV looks like a 3-D movie, complete with blocked peripheral vision and splitting headaches caused by focusing too much on the background action. For example, when I watch Steven Seagalâ€™s Lawman itâ€™s like heâ€™s actually sitting in my living room, racially profiling me. SIDENOTE: I’m not sure high-def is doing anybody any favors.
Itâ€™s amazing how much clearer everything is. We drove by a building weâ€™ve driven by dozens of times, and I wondered when they painted it purple. I was told itâ€™s always been purple. I had a similar revelation watching the Eagles-Cowboys game. I had been under the impression the Eagles had more plays than just throwing deep to DeSean Jackson in the hopes he catches one every now and then. I also thought Dallas was terrible but now see Super Bowl contenders. I thought the Green Bay Packers actually had a defense. I thought rookie quarterbacks in the playoffs never won.
In my Mr. Magoo-esque bumbling, that thing I thought was a dead possum by the side of the road was actually Ken Whisenhunt, who two years in a row now has had his Cardinals looking toes up heading into the playoffs, only to spring to life once they get there. Were the Indianapolis Colts wearing their glasses to watch this?
Iâ€™m also noticing that Ed Hochuli is getting kinda old. I never noticed because all I could see before were his arms.
Growing old is not for sissies.
Time will tell if my quality of life actually improves because I can now read street signs from three feet further, but I canâ€™t help but wonder how a simple pair of glasses may make the difference in other sports lives. Lets’ see:
Tom Brady needs glasses, the kind that help him complete an over-the-middle pass to anyone not named Wes Welker. What a dismantling of a proud franchise at home! The Foxborough Faithful needed to put on blinders after less than one quarter.
Note to hacks covering the Cardinals these playoffs, Kurt Warner doesnâ€™t need glasses to see his futureâ€¦stop asking if heâ€™s going to retire and accept that he might actually be focusing on the next game.
Playoff field goal kickers need glasses. Shane Graham almost single-footedly kept the Bengals from hanging with the Jets. New Englandâ€™s Gostkowski missed his only chance, reminding Patriot fans once again that this isnâ€™t the Adam Vinatieri version. Mason Crosby pushed a long shot 50 yarder, but the normally unflappable Neil Rackers inexplicably shanked his chip shot game winner, and owes the Cardinal defense a couple of pizzas.
Pete Carrollâ€™s glasses are usually Rose-Colored, as USC had gotten used to hosting the Rose Bowl, but it looks like the loss of Mark Sanchez shook him into starting a freshman this year and now, the surest sign of an outdated prescription, he thinks that coaching in the NFL again is looking pretty good.
Aroldis Chapman needs glasses. The heralded Cuban hurler who has just defected to the MLB thought he was agreeing to a deal with the contending Red Sox, only to be told just after signing that he actually plays for the Reds.
Next weekend, I see the Jets playing gamely but being unable to come back when they fall two scores down in the third quarter; I see the Ravens surprising the Colts; I’m afraid of what I might see in the marquee Cowboys-Minny game, and I see an Over-Under of around 60 in the Saints-Cardinals game.
To sum up: Glasses aren’t just for people who like to read, or a ready excuse for a guy trying to convince a bully not to hit him. Nor are they just a prop to take off dramatically when you’re doing a Walter Cronkite imitation. No. They are a much-needed tool that strip away all the soft edges and delivers life in clean crisp colors and lines; the key to a clear-eyed perspective on everything. If you don’t agree, I’ll send my new friend Steven Seagal and his new Lawman moves to help you see it my way.