A New Addition to My Face

My mother-in-law hyperventilated from excitement upon learning my eyeglasses had broken. “You need new ones and I have the perfect place!” she said. That’s exactly what I needed: the perfect place, and Minneapolis is the kind of town that might deliver. “They’re really helpful and, well, they just really understand what kind of glasses look good on different kinds of faces.” she added. Perfect, I really enjoy it when people tell me about my face. Face analysis provides vital nutrients for the ego.”Sweet! I have a round face. Now I know that forever.”

Like most “eyewear consultants”, mine was wearing ridiculously huge glasses. A nice looking woman, doing her best to look like Elvis Costello or Rachel Maddow. She was nice, though, and seemed flexible when I told her that my wife — whom I respectfully referred to as the “face boss” — would have ultimate veto power over any decision we made. “We’ll take pictures and email them to her!” she offered. Meanwhile, my mother-in-law added her own seasoning to the humiliation by expressing her opinion that my head was also “small for my body.” While true, I don’t think that’s something eyewear can hide. I’m cursed with the physical proportions of a moron. Even in first grade I was immediately put in remedial reading simply based on head size (a practice I can only assume has since been outlawed). I worked my way up to the top group, but I had to be twice as good as the kids with normal-sized heads. Even today, I use big words to compensate for my underdeveloped cranium.

As I expected, our face consultant pulled out various unsavory eye fashion options, each of which I immediately shot down for specific reasons only I understood. The first pair made me look too German, the second too Scandinavian, and the third too much like “an architect who plays professional racquetball on the weekend.” I never realized how much I read into eyewear. Is it possible that I’ve written off amazing people simply because their glasses gave me a “genocidal dictator” vibe?

We finally decided on four options, all of which made me look like a complete asshole. Somehow, I’d lost control of the situation and would just put on glasses as they were handed to me and wait for my mother-in-law and our consultant to discuss the pros and cons. I stopped looking in the mirror myself — I’d abdicated my look to my wife’s mother and a 40-something lady wearing glasses big enough to be called “face gear.” Plus, this was only the first step. Whatever they came up with would have to be taken to the front office for Steinbrenner’s approval. My essence was being determined by committee, and nothing good ever comes from that. I needed to be the Steve Jobs of my own face, but I don’t have the confidence to be a visionary.

After returning to the house, I went through the photos with my wife. “No, no, no, maybe” was the verdict. We had to go back so she could see them in person. Yes, I should have just brought the face boss with me to begin with, but  my mother-in-law was so astonishingly stoked to take me to her favorite vision center, that resisting would not only have been mean, but possibly elder abuse. We could have brought the kids with us, but I didn’t want to spent $5,000 replacing broken eyeglasses. Lindsay tried to convince me to go ahead and buy a $300 pair of flesh colored glasses made from surgical plastic, but since I’m not  from the future, I declined. It all worked out in the end, though. Here’s a picture of the glasses I’m wearing while writing this. Does LASIK work for astigmatisms?

I'm a contributing writer to Parents Magazine, GQ, Psychology Today and some others. My book, "This is Ridiculous. This is Amazing: Parenthood in 71 Lists" is available here http://bit.ly/1exfm34. Look for two more books in 2015: "Must. Push. Buttons (Bloomsbury Kids), and an as-of-yet untitled memoir I’ve appeared on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” and “Nick Mom’s Night Out." I live in New Jersey with my wife and two sons and enjoy making them laugh more than anyone else.

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