I have always viewed myself as a farsighted person, a visionary who, like a great leader, could clearly see the world around me. After a visit to the eye doctor, however, I know I'm a nearsighted person, a double-visionary who, like Mr. Magoo, can't see much past my nose.
Fortunately, my nose isn't my most delicate feature, so I'm not totally blind to the world around me.
That's how Dr. Howard Weinberg saw me when I went to see him.
I recently walked into Eyecare Unlimited in Coram, N.Y., humming Jackson Browne's "Doctor, My Eyes" because I hadn't gone to an eye doctor since the Clinton administration, which is what I put on the paperwork I had to fill out.
Weinberg, an optometrist who also is an optimist, looked at the form through a pair of stylish glasses and asked, "Why did you wait so long to get your eyes examined? A change of administrations?"
"It's going on two administrations," I pointed out. I also thought I heard him humming "Jeepers Creepers, Where'd You Get Those Peepers?"
It must have been what he was thinking when he peered into my orbs through a machine that looked, at least to the untrained eye, like a small version of the Hubble Space Telescope.
Then Weinberg asked me to look at the chart on the wall.
"What wall?" I said.
He ignored the remark and told me to read the first three lines. They were:
"Very good," he said. "Now read the next three."
They weren't so easy. Here's what I thought I saw:
"You're myopic and you have a touch of astigmatism," Weinberg said. "Do you wear glasses?"
"Yes, but only for driving," I said, handing him the pair I got a decade and a half ago.
"They're bent, so they make my head look lopsided," I added.
"Maybe it's not the glasses," Weinberg replied with a smile. Then he explained that with my prescription, a 9-by-9 room will appear to be 9-by-12.
"You mean my house is bigger than I thought?" I asked.
Weinberg nodded. "Good news in a bad market," he said. "Maybe I should go into real estate."
Then he gave me a glaucoma test, which entailed using drops that dilated my pupils. While waiting for the solution to take effect, I thought of the Three Stooges and how Moe would poke his fingers into the eyes of Larry, Curly and, depending on the episode, Shemp.
"If they were my patients," Weinberg said, "I'd make a fortune."
Keeping with the musical theme, Crystal Gayle's "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue" started playing in my head, except the drops made them red, which is their primary color.
"You don't have glaucoma," Weinberg said, adding that I have 20/40 vision. "That's not bad," he said. "You can keep the same prescription, but you might want to get more stylish glasses."
Weinberg's wife, Jill, the smartly bespectacled office manager, helped fit me for a new pair. "I'd go with a more rectangular look," she suggested. "You have nice eyes. They're very large."
"Like Barney Google's?" I said.
"And you have an oval face," the good doctor noted.
"You mean I'm an egghead?"
The Weinbergs, a terrific couple with excellent senses of humor, chuckled and assured me that I'd look even better with "more modern" glasses. Because I'm a mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper, I chose a pair that will help keep my secret identity and might even put me on the cover of GQ.
"Now, when you drive," Jill said, "you'll not only be able to see traffic lights and stop signs, but you'll look good to other drivers."
As I left the office, I glanced in the mirror and hummed "I Only Have Eyes for You."
Copyright 2008 by Jerry Zezima