Times have changed have they not?
In my day, if you wore glasses, you would be mercilessly teased. Names were plastered on you like “Four Eyes”, or “Nerd”. You would be looked on as weak, because no one cool or tough wore glasses. You end up in more than one altercation to prove that theory wrong; sometimes successfully, sometimes not. You could side step this issue by wearing wire framed, which were seen as a bit cooler, but when you grew up like I did, this was considered a frivolous expense. On top of that add that my parents made me carry the glasses case in my shirt pocket and you get the picture (if you ever see my second grade class picture you can see this first hand).
This stereotype follows you later in life too. When ever a commercial wants to portray someone as a “nerd”, a computer geek, or just intelligent, how many times are they wearing glasses? More often than not (the one recent example of this being broken is the show “The Big Bang Theory” where only three of the main characters, Leonard, Amy, and Bernadette, wear glasses). In boot camp they issue you dark framed glasses that are kept on your face using a strap in the back, affectionately referred to as BC Glasses (BC standing for Birth Control, as in “no one will ever have sex with you if you’re wearing these”).
But, times change, and even though we see the stereotypes still in print and in movies and TV, the stigma of wearing glasses is not as bad as it was when I was growing up. In fact, it seems more people than ever wear them. So it always seems weird that athletic events have not made it easier for those of be with sight issues. People just assume that you’ll wear contacts, or deal with limited sight, until you can get to glasses. Some bigger triathlon events have a special needs table that you can drop your glasses at so you can retrieve them after the swim portion. Great idea. Except how are you going to see well enough to get to the swim start if you dropped them off at the exit?
Maybe you can have someone walk with you to swim start, take your glasses, then when you come out of the water hand them to you.
That’ll work ….
Except that USAT rules prohibit assistance from spectators.
You can do what I did. I found a site called AquaGoggles that can place your prescription in a set for $24.99. Not bad really. Yes they are not centered, but it allows me to see well enough to sight on the buoys. I know I look like an idiot after I drop my glasses off in T1 and have to wear the goggles to the swim start, and leave them on after I exit the water until I find my bike (or as I have done, take them off and hold them to my face when I need to find my row number).
I have a set of glasses that get darker in the light, so the issue of having sunglasses is taken care of on the bike and run, but wouldn’t it be nice to not have to worry about things like that, especially in the rain, when they can get to the point of needing wipers, or in the hot muggy Florida heat, when the strap holds them too close to your face and they fog up constantly? You can go the Lasik route, which scares the hell out of me. I am not scared of surgery … I have had a few. What I don’t want to happen is to (1) go through it and still need glasses afterwards, although at a light prescription, because I am blind as a bat, or (2) have something go wrong and make my vision worse. I can wear contacts, but my thyroid cancer effected my “lubrication” and contacts dry out very quickly on me. I may still try this at some point to see if it works, but it seems like a big expense to put in contacts just for a race, and then throw them out.
So what is “Johnny Four Eyes” to do?