Blinded by the light


It started out as a typical day. The Wife reminded me of something I’d forgotten. Leaving for work, she gave me a hug and said, “Eye doctor’s appointment is at 10 today.” I must’ve had a funny look because then she kissed me and added, “You’ve already forgotten, haven’t you?”

I do that quite often: look funny and forget things. Some say that’s a result of getting older. I think it’s just a result of my forgetting things and, of course, me looking funny.

As I walked her to the car, she added, “Remember, wear those dark glasses when you leave the doctor. You know what happened last time.” I smiled and assured her it wouldn’t happen again. Then I went back inside – all the while trying to remember what the heck happened last time. It’s hard for me to remember yesterday or where I put my car keys last night, much less what went on three years ago at the eye doctor.

After a quick shower, breakfast, and a 30-minute search for our two cats to make sure they hadn’t gotten out again, it was time to go. Unfortunately, my departure was delayed by an hour-long search for car keys. The search ended with their discovery under a load of wet laundry, laundry that someone had forgotten to transfer to the dryer last night before he went to bed.

I jumped into the car and took off with just enough time to make it to the eye doc. And I would have made it if I hadn’t I realized (when I had reached the end of the driveway) that my wallet was missing. Another search ensued, one that finally ended with the discovery of the missing wallet just where the cats had put it: on top of the spare toilet paper rolls.

Don’t ask me why it was there. I don’t know. I’ve got some really strange cats. Now late for the appointment, I was on the road once again, still not remembering what had happened three years ago.

The doc was really nice; he didn’t get upset about my being late or that it had been so long between appointments. He actually said my vision had gotten better – so much so that I no longer needed glasses.

After putting drops in my eyes to dilate them, he suggested I go up front to pick out a good pair of sunglasses. Once up front, I sat down and started to try different ones on. I must have been making funny faces again because his assistant said, “Don’t worry. Everyone looks better in person than they do in mirrors.”

I thanked her for the great business idea. Stickers to go on all bathroom mirrors that state: Don’t worry; everyone looks better in person than they do in mirrors. I didn’t write a note, but I was sure I wouldn’t forget. The Wife and I are gonna be rich!

The doc called me back one last time to check my eyes for glaucoma. He said all was fine, then handed me a pair of dark, wraparound, disposable glasses, with instructions to wear them for the next few hours.

After paying, I left the doctor’s office at noon and stepped out into the bright, cloudless August day – having left the dark, wraparound, disposable sunglasses at the checkout desk. In a blinding flash, I immediately remembered what had happened three years ago.

It took a lot of feeling and groping, but 10 minutes later, I finally stumbled my way back to the office door. I retrieved my wraparound glasses still at the front desk, along with the new sunglasses that I had somehow forgotten. Driving home, I called The Wife to tell her we were going to be rich but got her voice mail.

The Wife returned home that evening to find the husband she loves turning over couch cushions looking for his car keys. She asked, “What’s the great idea that’s going to make us rich?”

You know, for the life of me, I really don’t remember what I was going to say. It must have had something to do with what happened next. Before I could answer, The Wife walked over and kissed me, gave a little smile and tugged on my shirt. “That’s okay. I’ve got a great idea.”

Sometimes in a relationship, whether you have money or not, you’re rich beyond measure. Now that’s one thing I will never forget.

[Rick Ryckeley, who lives in Senoia, has been a firefighter for more than two decades and a columnist for The Citizen since 2001. His email is]