I was a funny looking kid when I was a teenager. Until I was thirteen I was short and round with big feet and a really large round head. My hair was cut into a severe brush cut and I looked like a native Charlie Brown. But the worst thing of all was my glasses.

            My adopted parents were thrifty to the point of being cruel. They could never see the need to buy anything fashionable or trendy. Instead, we got bargain basement things and my glasses were the same thing.

            When I was a teenager in the late 1960s I had glasses with thick lenses and heavy black plastic frames. The kids called me Poindexter, Frog Eyes or the Nutty Professor because Jerry Lewis wore the exact same kind of glasses in the original of that famous movie.

            Those glasses were so heavy I had spots on both sides of my nose where the weight of them pressed down. There were matching red tracks at the side of my head too where the arms pressed into my temples. I hated those glasses.

            Well, I grew up one summer. I grew five inches from the time school let out and it went back in in September. I still had those awful glasses but at least I wasn’t a funny looking round kid anymore. Now I was tall and skinny with funny glasses – the classic geek.

            When I left home at sixteen one of the first things I did when I had the money was to get rid of those glasses. I grew my hair out, started wearing jeans and t-shirts instead of the double kit polyester pants and white shirts. I was free.

            I’ve had a lot of different glasses since then. For a while I wore those round John Lennon glasses then I had a pair of Aviator frames. In the 90s I turned to fashion frames and even tried contact lenses for a while.

            I think every kid had to wrestle with funny looking clothes and things when they were growing up. It’s a rule I think that parents lose all sense of cool and hip and fashionable as soon as they have kids. But the memory of those days is something everyone laughs about.

            I’m 55 these days. My glasses suit me. But when I look in the mirror, I can still see some of that funny looking round headed kid. I like that.


About Richard Wagamese

I am a published author with 13 titles published by major Canadian publishers. I am a First Nations person from the Ojibway Nation in Northwestern, Ontario, Canada. As a professional writer since 1979 I have written for newspaper, radio television, magazines and book publishing. I love the culture of books and the people who populate it. 2012 recipient of the National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Media & Communications. View all posts by Richard Wagamese

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