It isn't often that I have questionable judgment when clothing and accouterments are concerned. As a matter of fact, I'm sure that with even the smallest of strolls in a shopping area, I could produce any number of clothing critiques about my fellow humans. Nearly all of them need help in one area or another. And then, there is Karl E. Stanwell. I stand alone when it comes to a sensible style and knowledge of what to, and what not to wear. At least this is the case most of the time. 

I am glad that the folks who put together my vehicle did not outfit the thing with one of those talking mirrors like one sees in these movies with witches and dragons and such. I don't think I could bear the remarks or chuckles that I would undoubtedly receive each time I took a peek in the rearview mirror on a sunny day. You see, I saw a pair of sunglasses sitting on a shelf in a fine eyeglass shop while out shopping one day. They looked absolutely splendid. And while the salesperson claimed that this splendidness remained, even while perched on my face, I am not sure that this was entirely the truth. 

An item in a store can look any number of ways sitting there by itself, but put it on your head and everything changes, once your oddly shaped mug is situated in back of the thing. This, I did not realize until it was too late. These sunglasses look like something that a car racing personality should be sporting. They look fast, even when I am standing completely still. I, on the other hand, look nearly immobile at any part of any given day. Even so, I like them and will continue to wear them every chance I get. But I am not alone... 

Some individuals I've observed, wear driving gloves even though the most serious driving they do is to the grocery store and back. Others wear high end running shoes when their physiques outwardly tells a story of serious lack of any kind of athletic activity aside from lifting far too many sandwiches to the vicinity of the mouth. I cannot concern myself with these persons. At least not all of the time. There are simply too many lost souls to help, and as perfect as I may be, I am but one man with my own troubles. One such trouble happens to be related to my sporty sunglasses. 

You see, my eyesight is not the best and may even be considered to be in the technical category, 'some of the worst.' Any sunglasses I wear, therefore, must be of the prescripted variety, as is the case with my smart specs. While running down to the local post, I happened across the path of an old acquaintance named Leo. 

Years back, we worked near each other and often went to the same café every day at lunch time and henceforth, got to talking here and there, now and then. Leo was an alright chap but none too refined. That's not to say he was a carnival worker or bill collector. He was not of the lowest variety or anything like that. Leo was leaving and I was walking in. I was in absolutely desperate need of some stamps. The antique tobacco tin in which I kept my stamps was down to three. I could easily plow through three stamps in a single afternoon. My nerves were affected the same way a farmhand might shudder when low on plug tobacco. 

It seemed Leo had grow the beginnings of a beard which I thought looked horrendous, although my comment was, "Leo, look at that beard, who's looking chippy?" He smiled and ran through the normal list of things one might say when running into someone they know, but do not share much in common. I waited patiently. When he was done I noticed his head sway from side to side before he said, "Look at those shades!" I grinned as if to say thank you without saying thank you. Then he belts out a curious, "Let's take a look." 

I was completely unready for this. I have an area around my person which reaches out about two feet in all directions. This is my personal space. Not a soul has the go ahead to breach it without my saying so. Leo did not receive this notice. Before I knew what was going on, my sunglasses were off of my head and on his. I got out the words, "...but they are..." in hopes of saying, "...but they are prescription sunglasses and you will not see well at all in them so trying them on is really a useless action so if you don't mind, just leave them where they are and admire from afar." 

Leo opened his eyes and it hit him. I knew that looking through the wrong prescription glasses was shocking, I didn't however, realize that it was reality-altering. He obviously was not expecting the switch, thinking he was putting on regular sunglasses. He let out a "Whoa, whoa, whoa!" as he rocked back on his heels. I thought that the effect was so incredible, that this could certainly somehow be incorporated into some kind of warfare. Leo's arms swung back and forth in a circular motion, and then, the unthinkable happened. One of his hands connected with a passerby in a most unfortunate way. 

When things such as this happen, the world is suddenly thrown into slow motion so that one can see the horrible thing play out moment by moment. It was his left hand that did the injustice. The man was in complete righting mode. When you are about to fall backward, your hands look to latch on to something in order to steady the rest of your body. It just so happened that the first object within the path of Leo's left hand was a complete stranger's upper female torso. The grip that naturally ensued was not unlike a starving monkey to a chance coconut. 

The following bout that occurred was quick, one-sided, and embarrassing for all within viewing distance. Leo was the bear cub who had stumbled into the path of the great Mother bear on a bad day, and just as in nature, lessons had to be learned. The difference here, is that any time I had the chance to see the great Mother bear put the cub back in its place during one of those nature shows, I felt bad for the tyke. I did not feel bad for Leo. That is, until the last blow which so deftly landed between his eyes. The pain of the knock alone would have been something to recover from for at least a week's time. The added pain thrown into the mix when glasses have been positioned between fist and face, was significant. Now I felt bad. At first for Leo, and then, after seeing the remnants of my snappy sun spectacles in various areas of the post office common area, for myself. 

The offended virago, after finishing off poor Leo, calmly put her letters, which she still was holding in her non-punching hand, into the outgoing slot, and then departed. The groans that Leo was shoveling out were not going to end anytime soon. As I too was in need of comforting, I decided the best thing to do would be to procure my stamps and reassess the situation. 

After I purchased no less than 100 very sensible looking stamps, I returned to the common area where Leo and the shards of what used to be my sunglasses still lay, all of which were still on the floor. As my constitution was in a state of suffering equal to or greater than Leo's, it was clear that triage deemed my hot-footing it back to the house for a stiff refresher or three. I quickly acquired Leo's proper address and began home. 

The problem I had now, however, was that, without my prescription glasses, I was as blind as a blindfolded eyeless pig. My squinting and stumbling home no doubt established some very questionable ideas about my company with the local folks which I would, in the following weeks, amend by taking numerous brisk walks with a look of sensibility firmly in place for one and all to see. 

If it weren't enough to lose the use of my sporty sunglasses for far too long, salt was administered freely and liberally to the wound when I realized that I would be using one of my smart stamps for such a task as to mail a bill of compensation to poor ole Leo. If nothing else, this has taught me to extend my personal space to a solid and sensible three feet. 

—Olie Sylvester 
Baron, International Oom Paul Society of Non-Typicals

AuthorOlie Sylvester