Oliff’s Life

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The first inkling I had that something wasn’t quite right with my eyesight was as a small boy singing in a church choir.

When belting out the psalms, my eyes would veer on to the following line from the one I was supposed to be following: much to the frustration of our esteemed choir master.

My mum took me along to Carlisle’s optician in Corby for my first eye test.

Apparently, I had a ‘wandering right eye’ that would require wearing spectacles until such time as the problem resolved itself.

However, as a prescription lens was required for only one eye, I ended up with a pair of ‘spectacle’ with only one lens, the left being bereft of any glass whatsoever.

I immediately anticipated the detrimental effect the wearing of such a beast might have on a schoolboy of my age.

I begged both Carlisle and my mum to put plain glass into the other side of the frame, all to no avail, as this was seen as a short-term adjustment with no need to spend unnecessary money on a plain-glass lens.

Despite the ‘ribbing’ from all at school and in the choir (I’ll leave the choice of unsuitable nicknames to your imagination), the lens slowly began to have a beneficial effect.

From that time until much later in life I never had need to visit an opticians again.

My eyesight finally began to naturally deteriorate when I reached my 40s, something I found difficult to accept.

I didn’t want to wear glasses viewing it as a blinding consequential acceptance of the aging process.

My test results were all too predictable as I prepared to present my newborn bespectacled face to the world: I needn’t have worried.

My colleagues smiled as I walked into the office.

Complimentary observations flew in all directions as I recalled the words from the old Danny Kaye song The Ugly Duckling. I felt good.