The Funny Day My Vision Went Bad

INTRODUCTION
When I started shaving my head in 1998, I noticed that some people I worked with were afraid of me. Maybe it was because I’m a big guy. I’m not really sure. But I did have an idea to try to deal with it, about a year later.

I went to a eyewear shop and bought some glasses. The thing was, I didn’t need glasses. All the same, I invested into some really nice frames so that I could have lenses put into them if I one day needed glasses.

Both of my parents wear reading glasses, so I was under no delusions and was ready for this. Or so I thought.


WHEN AND HOW IT HAPPENED, AND WHY I REMEMBER
If you wear glasses, do you remember the precise day that you needed glasses? I do.

It was Tuesday, May 10, 2011. It was a time when I was firing on all cylinders, and then some. I was working a contract job with some crazy hours. I was still working with Noodle Muffin. I was working on building a recording studio.

ALL of my time was tagged for use in very specific ways. There was little in the way of rest or down-time.

May 6, 2011: A selfie at Sal’s Comedy Hole in Hollywood, California, just FIVE DAYS before I realized my vision was failing.

If all of that weren’t enough, I was also working on my stand-up comedy routine. I would do the open mic at Sal’s Comedy Hole in Hollywood. I was performing as “Dan Barger,” because my actual last name is 13 letters long and nobody can pronounce it properly.

Ease of memory and transaction are driving forces for stage names in the entertainment industry.

I got up in the morning, and before I went to work I sat at the computer and read the news, looking for comedy fodder. There were two jokes that I wrote in particular. While I don’t remember the jokes, I do remember that one was about Microsoft purchasing Skype for $8.5 BILLION, and Arnold Schwarzenegger getting caught after having had an affair with his housekeeper.

On this day, I used my computer and wrote my jokes on a notepad of sorts and saved it on my iPhone for access that evening. I had previously noticed that other comedians were performing on the stage with notes on their iPhones. This was standard.

This would be my first time using my phone with notes for reference.

I was having some trouble with my computer screen being a bit blurry, but I wrote it off as working myself too hard and not getting enough sleep. I saved the jokes to my iPhone and got on the road to work.

I was doing QA Tech work with a company in Culver City. At this time, I didn’t have to do any testing on mobile devices. Also, I was so very busy that I didn’t even look at my phone all day. So I spent the day looking at a giant screen in front of my face. Relatively little blur, so I didn’t worry much.

After work, I headed over to Sal’s Comedy Hole and signed up. I was part of the early performers.


AND THEN, IT HAPPENED
I got on stage in front of about 50 people. More than half of them were also there to perform on stage. With great confidence I pulled out my phone.

I looked at it. I squinted. I stretched my arm out, which didn’t help.

There I was, on a stage in front of an audience, and I am just now realizing that I CANNOT read my phone, and that I needed glasses.

“Hey, everybody. I had some jokes on my iPhone, but I can’t read them. Indeed, you are witnessing me realizing that I need to wear glasses.”

I then proceeded to work my jokes from memory, and it went okay.

But there is NOTHING quite as scary as being on stage and having this happen. It’s akin to being on stage and realizing that you are only wearing your underwear.


IN THE END
I made it through the set and did just fine, even though the logical side of my brain implored me to run screaming into the night out of sheer terror.

I’ve been wearing glasses as a necessity since then, for the past ten years and change. Speaking of change, my lens prescription has not changed in 10 years.

Christmas 2011: At the annual Christmas party with Lynda.com founder Lynda Weinmann. I’m wearing my first pair of glasses here [D&G], which I purchased in 1999 and did not really need until 2011.

I have looked all over for potential video or photos from that day, since I would occasionally shoot video. However, it seems that I did not shoot video that night.

The good news is that I did shoot video roughly two months before. So I’m going to leave you with video of my stand-up routine from March 3, 2011. This was BEFORE I started putting my routine on my iPhone for reference.

Thanks to everyone who reads and comments. I do appreciate your presence and participation.

March 3, 2011: Performing for open mic at Sal’s Comedy Hole in Hollywood, California

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Published by DrumWild

Writing about drums, music, and philosophy.

7 thoughts on “The Funny Day My Vision Went Bad

  1. Oh, that day was wild. It started with us listening to the radio on the way to LaBrea Tar Pits. They played “Hey, Jude,” and she says, “That’s a catchy tune. Who is this?” And later, we got to the LaBrea Tar Pits and she’s looking at the bust of the founder and reads the plaque beneath it. “George C. Page… Philanthropist….Hey, that’s the kind of job YOU should get.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I forgot the kicker for “Hey, Jude.” I called out my ex-wife for not knowing this song. I told her, “You were 18, going on 18 years old in the Summer of 69, in Haight Ashbury, and marching with Cesar Chavez. The Beatles were still huge at that point. How could you NOT know this song?”

      She replies, “I’m not a musiCAN, like you.” Not musician, but musiCAN, sounding like “MexiCAN.” She was hanging with me for years at that point, and didn’t know the term “musician.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Whoa.. this is great stuff, and it actually happened! It’s not something a script writer thought up. Oh yeah, that “musiCAN” thing. That’s coz she knows guys of your caliber sure CAN do lots of wonderful things hehehe

        Liked by 1 person

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