Setting my sights on new specs

At long last I need prescription eyeglasses. I figured it, the doctor confirmed it. I am the most olden and wizened man on Earth. 

And yet I am not devastated. I am hardly ruffled, didn’t even blink. I’ve been wearing reading specs for some time now, used namely for books, food labels and computer stuff, and without which I couldn’t type these words and how that would break your heart. 

I can see people, cars, trees, raccoons and the general environment with spectacular clarity. No one appears fuzzy like a gelatinous apparition or a melting snowman. In fact, I’d reckon my vision is at least 80 percent normal and healthy. 

Yet, as I have just learned, I am clinically far-sighted: objects at a distance are clear but those up close, like book pages, laptop screens and microwave buttons, are distressing smudges. They look like amoebas, or roadkill.

So this week I elected to get a fancy, full-blown eye exam, my first in about 15 years (and my second ever). I pictured, blurrily, a speedy, comfortable procedure featuring paper eye charts and other quaint peepers paraphernalia. 

Instead, for almost an hour, I was subjected to a harrowing battery of high-tech tests featuring Kubrickian contraptions, yellow-dye eyedrops, blinding photos of my wide-open eyeballs, all while being ushered in and out of apparatus-cluttered rooms by two assistants and a doctor who maintained a scary, chirpy detachment. The lab coat, an unsettling touch.

Eventually, I was done. I blinked about 585 times, wiped the gooey yellow dye from my lashes, examined, with the trio, disconcerting snapshots of my bulging, bloodshot orbs, and listened to the dilated diagnosis. I am going blind. 

No, but a prescription was prescribed: progressives. These are glasses, or specifically lenses, or, as I snatched off the web: “a type of prescription eyeglasses that let you see your whole field of vision without switching between multiple pairs of glasses.” That’s a bit reductive, but it makes the point.

The upshot: I need real glasses.

At least I sort of know what having glasses is like, what with my onerous readers and all. Those I have to fetch and fumble for, be it at home or in the tahini aisle at Whole Foods, or at the ATM, etc. (and that’s a very long etcetera). 

The new glasses I ordered will be glued to my face with utmost convenience and questionable aesthetics. I wanted dark blue, even cobalt, frames, and I selected a blue-blackish pair from the sterile racks and rows of spiffy eyewear. The frames run pricey, the lenses even more. Discounts are involved, so the damage isn’t blinding. Still, the money might be spent more festively on my approaching voyage to Portugal, on, say, museums, or octopus platters. 

Color me excited. Blurs be gone. The whole world crystalline. Granny glasses, the cursed readers, in the dustbin. I foresee all of this, and I haven’t even tried on the new glasses. I envision a brighter future. I call this far-sightedness.

Being gutsy with the ultimate donation

Clearing out emails yesterday, I came across one labeled “Donor registration.” It could have contained all manner of information — my monthly donations to the Humane Society and SPCA, clothing donations to the V.A., etc. — but, no, it was something nakedly startling.

The email, dated mid-2016, regarded my registration to donate my organs when I die. It rushed back to me, and once a morbid residue burned off, I was again at peace with my decision to be chopped up and disemboweled when the big day comes.

Fact: one organ donor can save up to eight lives. That’s a pretty good payoff. I can live —or die  — with that.

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I’ve always ticked the donor box on my driver’s license, yet it’s remained an abstract, faraway concept, like: This really doesn’t concern me in the here and now, so why the hell not?

So I signed up for an official donor program called Donate Life America. I have no idea how I chose them. I didn’t interrogate their credentials, and there are many other donor companies. I could be making a terrible mistake. Maybe they’ll drop my eyeballs on the floor, kick them around as they scramble to fetch the errant orbs.

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DLA describes itself like this: It’s a 501(c)3 nonprofit “to increase the number of donated organs, eyes and tissue available to save and heal lives through transplantation while developing a culture where donation is embraced as a fundamental human responsibility.”

The group’s website also features the page “The Deceased Donation Process,” featuring tantalizing (terrifying?) links to “Brain Death Testing,” “The Organ Procurement Organization” and “Recovering and Transporting Organs.” (For gooey, grisly FAQs, go here.)

As I’ve said before, when I expire I plan to be torched into fine powder, suitable for an enormous ashtray. Frankly, being harvested for body parts — skin, eyes, heart, liver, kidneys, bones, arteries — makes me momentarily queasy, even a mite scared. But buck up we must. (Still, I am certain I don’t want to be poked and prodded, chopped and chiseled as a cadaver in a medical school. Family, please note.)

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My eyes, brown and clear, are strong, though they require reading specs, a big caveat to donor recipients, I imagine. My ticker is in fine fettle, thumping to the mid-tempo pulse of the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive” when at rest and Metallica’s “Whiplash” when worked up, and there’s minimal plaque or bad cholesterol gumming up the works. Plus, it’s a big heart: it loves to love and has capacious room for dogs.

Although I’m afraid my liver is probably as useful as a burned charcoal briquette, my kidneys, I think, are performing their business fluidly. I have decent, soft skin, and my bone marrow, healthy, hale, is possibly edible. The subject of my intestines will be mercifully avoided.

Using the one-body-can-save-eight-lives calculus, I reckon I could perhaps save five or six lives. Better than zero. Better than one or two. It’s ghoulish, but golden. This is important work, and really, it’s no work at all.