I'm here at the drugstore with my little plastic basket full of sundries, and I've got my head bent low, looking down at my shoes. I'm getting ready. Because I know what will happen as soon as I lift my head and look at that store clerk. She will start to say, "May I help you?" but then she will stop. She will look at me, and she will say, "Oh, I love your glasses!"
I can predict this because it has been happening to me ever since I got these magic glasses a few months ago. I did not intend for all of this celebrity. I was merely looking for a backup plan to my usual days as a contact lens wearer. But now, thanks to the glasses, I am fabulous. Store clerks, doctors, secretaries, mail carriers, bank tellers, the judge at traffic court. Everywhere I go, they say it. Three and four times a day, I get it. "Oh, I love your glasses!"
"Thank you," I'll say. "Thank you very much."
In the beginning I was confused by the compliments. I thought: "I'm so fabulous!" while at the same time suppressing the reminder that, well, no, I'm not. My glasses are fabulous. This really has nothing to do with me. These compliments really belong to Heidi, the woman who sold me the glasses, or perhaps even more legitimately to some designer somewhere out there in Japan, where the glasses were made -- the person who came up with the idea of chocolate brown titanium lined with light blue, a rectangular shape just slightly angled inward, bowed at the top, an architectural masterpiece!
"Oh, I just love your glasses!" "Thank you. Thank you very much." It felt good to walk around as a person who gets complimented all the time. Like those Hollywood types who turn heads. Or even just people with one amazingly fine trait, like my sister Claire, who, as a kid, had super-long red hair that everyone everywhere felt the need to remind her of. It was rough growing up with a fabulous sister like that, let me tell you, but a good thing in that I now have the maturity to handle my own fabulousness. In fact, one time recently at the grocery store I was quite miffed that the kid at the cash register failed to say anything about my glasses. But did I turn to the little brat and say: "Hey, don't you have something you want to say to me? Don't you know who I am?" No, I did not. Because I come from humble beginnings, and I remember how it is to be intimidated by fabulous people.
Of course, a lot of fabulous people eventually do charity work, and now I understand why. You just feel so lucky, so thankful to God for making you this way, you want to give back. So I have been thinking about a campaign whereby I might share the love, complimenting others, especially those who so clearly would never get any compliments. You know the people I mean. I could say, "You have lovely elbows," to someone I can't find anything attractive about. Or, "I just love the way you don't have really sticking-out buck teeth." It would make me feel so good to see these people get even one ounce of the love showered upon me each and every day.
Okay, it's my turn here at the cash register. I put my basket up on the counter and bring my eyes to the clerk's. "Cash or charge?" she says, and then she stops. She smiles, cocks her head. (See, I told you.) "Cool glasses!" she says.
"Thank you," I say. "Thank you very much."
With that, I go slouching to the parking lot, keeping my head down, because frankly I've had enough. All the fabulous people get this way. We go through our Elvis times. I will probably start overeating soon, and if I don't get help, I'll turn to drugs. I'm so lonely. I wish I had other fabulous people around me -- those who understand my pain. Come on, pity me! What else do you have to do with your life?
When I get home, I look in the mirror and make kissy faces at myself. Then I take the glasses off. It's liberating, really. I'm just . . . normal. Plain. Ordinary. Oh, I love that I love the me I left behind. My humility, I think, is quite flattering, so I decide to walk around without my glasses on for the remainder of the day.
I put my contacts in and head off to pick up my girls from school. "I'm glad you're here," my daughter's teacher says.
"Because I forgot to tell you something at our parent-teacher meeting." Yes? "I just loved those glasses you were wearing," she says.
Oh, my heavens. I am starting to feel like a thing.
"The whole time I was talking to you," she says, "I was thinking, Wow, what cool glasses."
"Thank you," I say. "Thank you very much." Obviously, I now need to purchase a villa in the south of France, something small but stunning where I can recover on the beach from all of this. I'll need some fabulous sunglasses. I'll have my people call Heidi.
Jeanne Marie Laskas's e-mail address is email@example.com.