Saturday, May 17, 2008

The World Through My Glasses

There must have been some mix-up. All I wanted was the UV block and the scratch resistance.

Back when I purchased new glasses from the Vision Center, I DID NOT order the Special Coating. The lab put it on my lenses anyhow. And I’m too busy to send them back for a re-do, so I just have to live with it.

I’d never heard of this Special Coating. It allows the wearer to behold absurdities, inconsistencies and non-sequiturs that would otherwise go undetected.

I find it something of a distraction.

For instance, just this week I’m rolling out of Asheboro on US 64, singing along with my favorite Roy Orbison CD. Then I spot something on the periphery of my bespectacled vision.

I hit the brakes, turn around at the Blue Mist Restaurant and speed back west on 64.

It’s a big sign reflecting the fervent vitality of two great American religious traditions. I grew up with one of the traditions, so I can understand it (to the extent that anyone can “understand” a religious tradition). I did not grow up with the other one, so I’ve never understood the primal zeal it evokes.

Anyone else would cruise past Frank’s Gun & Pawn without giving it a second look.

Not me.

It’s the glasses, I tell you.

With the Special Coating.

That I DID NOT order.

Lacking that Special Coating on HIS glasses, Frank of Frank’s Gun & Pawn would NOT be prone to strange and disturbing visions while sitting around reloading cartridges. Or whatever it is that he does to piddle away the hours at Frank’s Gun & Pawn. Therefore, Frank would not see this:

Jesus and his posse walk into the shop to purchase a weapon.

(Did I mention these are young, swarthy, Middle Eastern men? If you watched the bunch of them boarding your plane, you’d start to squirm, even if it made you feel guilty for being so politically incorrect.)

Anyhow, Jesus and his posse walk into Frank’s Gun & Pawn to purchase a weapon. They look around for a minute and then Jesus exclaims, “James, Peter, come check out this snub nose .38!”

Peter picks up the pistol. He likes the way it feels in his hand. He exchanges glances with his comrades and then turns to Jesus, “What do you think? Should we buy this one?”

Doubtless, this vision has never occurred to Frank.

Circling around the parking lot at Frank’s Gun & Pawn, I pause to take a photograph of the sign. I take off my glasses and sight through the camera. Got it! Before putting my glasses back on, I wipe off a smudge and glance across the highway at a vacant lot.

Then, with my glasses on, I see the lot's not vacant after all. There's a shop. Khalid Habib’s Guns and Pawn. And right there on his sign is an inspirational verse.

From the Quran.


Waiting for the traffic to thin out so I can resume my trip, I watch the drivers on US 64. They’re all slowing and gawking at the sign in front of Khalid Habib’s Guns and Pawn. Their faces contort with disbelief. They shake their heads in disgust.

And they’re not even wearing glasses…

…much less glasses with the Special Coating.

No comments: