February 7, 2023

Eyeglasses needed. One pair.

By John Guy LaPlante

Morro Bay, CA — Our Senior Center in the lobby has a Lions Club eyeglass box.  About the size of a double-size shoebox.

It’s  for members to drop in their old eyeglasses when they’ve bought a new pair. Eventually a Lions Club member stops by, carries off the box, and leaves a new box.

The Lions Club does this to make eyeglasses available free to people who can’t afford a new pair. It’s a wonderful thing.

On my last visit I saw sitting there just yards away from me an old man. He needed a shave. His clothes and sneakers were scruffy.

Could be he wasn’t one of our members. Maybe just a gent who had heard of this and had come in hoping.

He had the box on his lap. Was trying on a pair, then another. Saving one pair, rejecting another. Till he reached the last pair in the box.

Mind you, in full view of people coming and going. So embarrassing, I would think. Not to him, it seemed. He was focused one hundred percent on his search.

Some of the glasses were for ladies. He skipped those, of course. One problem was obvious. He had to find not only the most appropriate lenses. But also the most appropriate frame.

Kept at it until he reached the last pair. Never glanced at me.

Finally he chose one pair and tucked it in his pocket. It made me think maybe he needed them only for reading.

Both the lenses and the frame were less than perfect, I’m sure. He was walking out with a compromise and was okay with it.

I wondered what the Lions would think of this. Probably that it wasn’t a problem. After all, that’s why they provide this fine service — to help poor people.

How they go about this, I have no idea. Maybe all their glasses go to Americans, but maybe to people in Haiti, or Timbuktu.

Anyway, as I walked out, I had one question on my mind. How could this be taking place in the year of Our Lord 2019, here in California, which has the six largest economy in the world, after the USA, China, Japan, and Germany.  Imagine that!

Well, one thing is clear. Unfortunately, it was obvious that old guy was one of those not doing so well in this great economy of ours.

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