So. I went in for my first eye exam in ages today. I recently took up freelancing (I guess that's what the kids are calling it these days) and am covered by the State health plan until the Massachusetts Death Panel can decide thumbs up or thumbs down on me. I want to be very clear: I AM NOT ON THE DOLE, AND I AM NOT AFRAID TO DIE. They throw everyone on MassHealth before throwing them to the lions.
Now, in Massachusetts we have a lot of gay stuff, as some of you may know, and NOT JUST gay marriage. Like, A LOT OF STUFF. Don't be jealous, but aside from gay docs, we get gay dentists to tinker around in our gay mouths and gay optometrists for our gay eyes. (How else do you think we make gay talk and gay eyes at one another?) And, of course, we have gay opticians with the most stylish gay showrooms with all the cutting edge up-to-the-minute gay frames. It is not easy being a gay-myopic, let me tell you, but the wrong frames will only make things worse. So much worse.
So I ambled out after my exam to have a look. Let me tell you, I was like a kid in a candy store! Should I get the OGs or the ic! Berlins? The Wissings or the Woows? I took a seat at the counter, and the optician, wearing some absolutely faboo Kamuro Akiras, gave me a wan little smile.
I was like, “I’m here to see some frames, but all the cases are locked!”
“I know,” she sniffed, taking a shabby box from under the counter and plunking it down in front of me.
“These are our, ahem, MassHealth frames,” she explained, choking back a bit of bile. “They’re… obviously..." [here she sounded like she was gonna choke up the whole hairball]..."free.”
I was like: SOLD!
The lid of the old box creeeeeked as I opened it. Cool air, tinged with the not unpleasant odor of decay, issued forth from inside, as from a crypt. And there, along with some dead bugs, a broken green rubber band (the worst!) and a half-chewed mint lifesaver, was a single pair of wire-rim glasses, circa 1982, with a small half-scratched off logo, barely legible, in the corner of the lens.
"Whaaa… what’s this?" I stammered, afraid of what I knew was coming.
“Oh, don’t pretend like you don’t know,” the optician snarled. “It says ‘Dahmer Sport’.”
“Oh my God,” I gasped. “I thought this was an urban legend!”
I grabbed them up and tried them on. They fit! In a 1982 kinda way.
“But… why?” I asked, knowing now I would have to do something with my hair.
“The State of Massachusetts will give you free glasses,” she explained without inflection, “but, of course, they have every right to want you to pay in other ways.”
"Yes, of course!" I exclaimed.
“You’ll be able to see,” she went on coldly, “but what will your fellow... tax-paying citizens see when they see you seeing? On their dime?"
She paused for a long time before I realized this was not a rhetorical question.
"The state requires you to answer," she prompted.
"A serial killer?" I ventured.
"A convicted serial killer," she corrected. A CONVICTED GAY RACIST CANNIBAL SERIAL KILLER.”
I was trembling by now, just as you probably are.
“The only downside is, it's the state, you know, so the turn-around time is about two months,” she concluded with a pert smile.
Just enough time to do something with my hair.