Bad Tech

Useless readers

“Ohh Jesus, I can’t see it. Can you?” Sugar Mama asked as she held her phone as far away from her scrunched up face as possible.

For the past two decades, I had always left the house with two glasses hooked over the front of my shirt: sun glasses to protect my blue eyes from the killer rays of Helios; cheap ass readers from Walgreens with anywhere from a .5 to 1.5 rating.

“I thought I was just coming over to carry shit,” I said. “I left my readers at home.”

We were making the first trip to clean out a friend’s house. Our friends have moved to their last stop. A small house with 8 residents who get whatever care they need short of a hospital. They clung to their 4-bedroom suburban home far too long. Now it’s up to Sugar Mama to make things right.

She’s taking on their finances, selling their home and making sure they have enough to afford this final stop for as long as it takes.

Sugar Mama didn’t expect to need the readers either. But she got the text message — “book your second covid shot NOW.”

She’s fucking with her phone, trying to set the appointment. “I can’t lose my spot.”

She’s squinting and guessing. She passes the phone to me. “Does that say day of the week? or time of day?”

It was just fuzzy black squiggles with a green border to me. I couldn’t even tell what website or form she may have been completing. She’s clicking and bitching.

“I hate this little screen… this sucks.”

After 5 minutes we just had to give up. She lost that appointment, but we got another one once we got home. We just had to throw on the cheap readers so we could see the actual screen.

No Docs necessary

It’s the second hard lesson I learned about readers. The first one was buying them. When I hit the big “4-0” almost two decades ago, I could no longer read my computer screen. I was sending out emails and presentations with “i’s, t’s, or p’s and g’s” all mixed and randomly matched. Fucking embarrassing. They all looked the same to me.

Made an appointment with the eye doctor. $100 later, he told me I was “old”. He prescribed a fancy pair of glasses. I dutifully went to the eye glass “store” and bought a pair with “designer frames”, the special coating to protect against the sun and the shatter, scratch proof glass — $150. I waited 3 more days for the glasses to be “made.”

Broke that pair the first day. Stepped on them or sat on them or both.

“What the hell is the matter with you,” one of my older and wiser friends said. “You don’t get a prescription for readers… dumbass.” I had no idea what a “reader” was.

He pointed me to the carousel of frames at the front of every Walgreens and CVS in the country.

Stole the Image from here.

“Get the smallest number prescription you can where you can read the page. That will slow down the degrading eye sight as long as possible. Buy 3-4 pairs. $10 each. You are going to need to put pairs all over your house, car and office. Because you will forget them or lose them or these other old fuckers will take them.”

I avoided the little chain that holds the readers around your neck. I skipped the half-frame granny glasses that make you look like an angry librarian. I passed on the thick black nerd glasses.

But that was 20 years ago. Now I’ll throw on anything with enough magnification so I can read the screen without blowing up the letters to the size of my pinky. Sugar Mama has some pink frames that really show off the gray highlights in my hair… Hell, I would squeeze a monocle under my eyebrow like Colonel Klink just to see my Twitter notifications.

While we help our friends wind down their lives and take care of their “final arrangements,” these readers are a reminder that every organ and muscle in our bodies are also riding this slippery slope to frailty and failure.

Pay attention Boy. It won’t be long before you will be trying on pairs of readers in Walgreens and buying them by the gross. If we are lucky, it might be another decade or two, before you have to sell our house, make multiple trips to Goodwill to clean out all the useless shit we have collected (like 50 pink-framed readers) and make sure we have enough cash to cover the hospice bills.

But take your readers with you. Don’t fuck up the paperwork and stick us in an unairconditioned trailer in Apache Junction. We may not be able to see the fine print, but we can still sweat.

Categories: Bad Tech

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4 replies »

  1. I get my readers from”” when they have a sale. I have a pair in my bike bag. One in the kitchen. One pair in my car, one at the PC and three as decorations on a bureau in my office. Every once in a while I find a pair somewhere obscure in my house. It’s like an Easter Egg hunt.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. My wife was smug for years about not wearing glasses so I got great enjoyment from taking the piss when she eventually had to get readers! I’ve always been very smug about the fact that because I’m short sighted I’ll never need readers. Whoever told me that was a damned liar as my reading is getting harder all the time 😡

    Liked by 2 people

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