I Can See Your Fists So Clearly Now! by
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Prompted By The Eyes Have It

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The Nerd in Repose

It was in third grade that my myopia began to be noticeable. I had to squint to see the blackboard. I discovered that you could make a tiny pinhole telescope by curling your index finger just enough and peering through the little gap inside. I asked the teacher if I could sit closer. The teacher told my Mom.

This upset me terribly.

I needed glasses.

This upset me terribly. Already small, shy, unathletic, a geek, a nerd, a poindexter, prime bully bait, I knew that wearing glasses would basically be hanging a “kick me” sign…on my face. I begged to be allowed to keep squinting in relative peace. But it was no use. I would join the bruised, sobbing ranks of the four-eyed.

As a sign of my denial, my rage, I went the full Clark Kent route, and got the plainest black frames the optician had. If I was going to be made ugly on top of all my other flaws, then DAMMIT I’d be as ugly as I could be! I’d be uber-nerd!

The glasses turned out not to be that much of a problem. The psycho kids had so many reasons to beat on the kids like me, the glasses, stylish or grotesque, were superfluous.

Profile photo of Dave Ventre Dave Ventre
A hyper-annuated wannabee scientist with a lovely wife and a mountain biking problem.


Tags: glasses, nearsighted, myopic, nerd, geek
Characterizations: moving, right on!

Comments

  1. Khati Hendry says:

    This is so sad, Dave. You didn’t deserve the bullying you got, glasses or not. You obviously developed into a perceptive and caring person despite that trauma. Thanks for sharing so honestly.

    • Dave Ventre says:

      Bullying and other abuse can send a kid down a couple of paths. One of them is to become a victimizer in turn. I give credit to my parents who, Dr. Spock dropouts or not, raised me to believe that kindness and respect were cardinal virtues.

  2. John Shutkin says:

    As Khati mentioned, really so sad — though so typical — and yet led you down the right path. Bravo! And, as we know, uber-nerd has come full circle and is now uber-chic. You could have been a hipster in Brooklen (just add fedora).

  3. Suzy says:

    I hated wearing glasses as a kid too, and only put them on in class, which meant that the rest of the time I was walking around half blind. Sorry you got beat up by psycho kids, whether it was for the glasses or not.

    • Dave Ventre says:

      A lot of it was on the teachers. My mostly estranged brother is one year younger than I am, and so was one grade back. Where I was the quiet, bookish academic overachiever, he was the boisterous, rebellious charmer with mediocre grades who chafed under school discipline. He was and is also a major musical prodigy. In a recent conversation (part of a de-estrangement attempt of so far mixed results) he told me that the main reason that he disliked and resented me as he did was that the teachers were using me as a club to beat him with, telling him he should be more like me. I never knew this. Now, if they were also telling that to the various ne’er-do-wells in my own grade and above….

  4. Thanx Dave sharing some memories of the bullying you endured as a kid.

    And thanx for the many other stories you’ve shared showing us the kind and sensitive man you’ve become!

  5. Laurie Levy says:

    How sad that kids have been, and still are, bullied for wearing glasses. Still, better to see well so you can learn in school. In the long run, the bullies lose.

  6. Marian says:

    Incredible that kids are still being bullied for wearing glasses, Dave. I am glad you turned out to be so perceptive and compassionate. At least for girls most of the teasing was verbal and for a variety of reasons. I didn’t wear glasses but was almost full grown by fourth grade, and the worst was when boys snapped my bra, which I really needed by then.

    • Dave Ventre says:

      Marian, I hope and actually believe that such terrible behavior is less common now. “Kids these days” seem to be somewhat better people, on average, than when I was a kid. This story takes place in, I’d guess, 1964.

  7. Betsy Pfau says:

    Ah Dave, I SO feel for you, as we’ve already discussed with comments on my story. I am right there with you, dear friend. I guess what doesn’t kill you makes you strong? My teachers were kind to me and told me I’d be OK. That didn’t make me feel better in real time, though. But you did turn out OK too and now you’ve found this group to share things with and I hope that makes you feel better.

  8. Maybe it was a different, more genteel social environment at my school, or perhaps I was just that much younger when I got my glasses (grade 2, age 7) so I wasn’t worried about being physically bullied. But I was worried about the questions and comments. And like you, I tried to accommodate my myopia before I found out about the need for glasses–squinting being one of the major strategies. You told this story well.

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