“Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can’t let the world judge you too much.” That’s a quote from one of my favorite movies, Harold & Maude. My Mom took me to see it when I was a kid and ever since, I’ve tried to get all my friends hooked on it too.
Now I don’t blame the film, but throughout my life I have certainly been called just about every type of ‘ass’ there is: pain in the, smart, jack, dumb, hole and a coverer of. I’ve been told to stop talking out of mine and to get it in gear. I’ve even caused it to be laughed off and on rare occasions mine was so bad, it came with an open can of whoop. I’ve even been called an ass for recommending Harold & Maude.
With that much experience being an ‘ass’, I obviously have the first part of that quote down, unfortunately even at my NOT ‘oh very young’ age, I still have issues with the being judged part. If I am choosing to be a fool, which I often do, you can think whatever you want of me. It is the unintentional times that get to me. I’m surprisingly thin-skinned, still constantly followed by the long shadow cast by the insecurities of my youth. I’ve spent way to much energy foolishly worrying about the opinions of others.
It frustrates my wife that I do not cut myself anywhere near the same slack that I afford everyone else. I get down on myself when I make an obvious bad choice or error, as if in some twisted Pavlovian way it will re-train me to not err again. But it hasn’t worked yet, so maybe I finally should accept the fact that sometimes I will unintentionally make an ass of myself.
Thus, in an effort to get used to admitting my occasional ass-ness, I will now confess the absolute stupidest thing I have done this year… so far… its only March… I’ve got plenty of time to do worse.
Last December my wife told me we were fast approaching the ‘use it or lose it’ window on our optical Medical insurance. She had already gotten new reading glasses and I’d updated my contacts so even though I do not wear them very often, she suggested I finally replace my back-up eyeglasses. They were from about a half dozen prescriptions and fashion changes ago. Granted, the glasses were not quite as dated as my 1980s oversized bright red Sally Jessie Raphaels, but in my head they were as old as Methuselah.
Not quite yet comfortable with getting glasses on-line through Warby Parker, my wife suggested the never ending ‘buy one get one free’ sale at Vision Works that they have advertised for the last decade. Well they called it “BOGO” but I despise that term.
As soon as we walked in, we were accosted by a fresh faced sales-kid that despite our objections, was determined to tell us his pre-scripted welcome, tour and BOGO (humph) speeches. Once he finally left us alone, my wife barely had time to give me her first ‘ you ass, what are you thinking’ expression in response to some of my goofy frame selections, when a second pushy thick-accented saleswoman barged into our conversation and started giving us her glowing disingenuous ‘that’s perfect on you’ opinions of every ridiculous thing I put on my face.
We should have just walked out but this was the last weekend we had to get this done and I did find a couple of frames I liked and the BOGO (yuch) thing and and and… I even forgot my prescription so we left and came back, but that is not the stupid ‘make an ass of myself’ point of the story. I popped out my contacts, slipped on the old Methuselah-aged glasses, went back to the store and sat down with salesperson #3. He kept telling me about his vast experience and knowledge, though multiple times he had to ask others for answers to my simplest of questions about the many upgrades he tried to pressure me into. It took no time at all for my $100 BOGO (I have to stop saying that, now its stuck in my head like that Baby Shark song. doot do doot do doot) frames to be over $900.
“NO!” I exclaimed. Despite all the dog-eared brochures, peeling flip charts, dinged up plastic visual aides and other crappy propaganda he showed me, I was not going to pay for double coated, transitional, UV blocking, polycarbonite, aspheric lensed, high index, photochromic, invisible lined, anti-scratched, uncle-overpiced spectacles! I just needed plain old glasses like the Methuselahs on my face. Salesman #3 assured me he could do that and recommended using the prescription information for my ‘bi-focal’ style contacts as two separate pairs of glasses. One for reading and one for distance. I again suggested just making them like my old pair but I’m not the eyeglass expert. I finally agreed after we got the price down to a more acceptable but still grossly too high $500.
A few weeks later I got a call they were ready, so I again popped out my contacts and went to Vision Works to pick up the glasses. I really did not like them, but salesperson #4 suggested trying them for a bit. So I wore both pairs several times over the next couple of weeks but they hurt my eyes gave me headaches. I finally went back, but as soon Salespeople 1-4 saw me walk in carrying my BOGOs (ack), my old Methuselahs and all the paperwork in hand, I was ignored like a leprosy sufferer dropping digits and limbs on their floor. Accented pushy Saleswoman #2 even made a point of walking the long way around the entire store to greet people coming in behind me.
Eventually a fifth salesperson acknowledged my existence and told me he could correct the BOGOs (sigh) but asked me first to go back to my eye doctor to make sure my prescription was correct. The next day I again popped out my contacts and went to my optometrist who assured me the prescription was correct. I then went back to Vision Works and assured them the prescription was correct. Salesman #5 recommended NOT making two different pairs, one for reading and one for distance, like the #3 suggested. Pulling my Methuselahs off my face to show him, I again said, I just wanted “a pair like these that does not give me headaches.” But sorry folks, that is not yet the ‘Dan’s an ass’ part of the story.
A couple of weeks later I got the call that my new BOGOs (I give up) were ready. Despite it being my insanely frustrating sixth trip to the store, I tried to be optically optimistic. I hurriedly sat down with salesperson # 6 who looked a lot like salesperson #1 but a lot older. Had this been dragging on so long that he aged?
I slipped both pairs on only to discover they were horrible!!! Beyond horrible!!!!! I could not see a thing. They were worse then the last ones. Everything was a blurry mess. I was so consumed with anger and frustration but I did not want to blow up and say something I regretted. Since I had forgotten to bring my Methuselahs with me, I realized I could not even show them how horribly different these new ones were. I just quietly walked out with the BOGOs (please let this be the last time I have to say that) and figured I would come back when I could be more composed.
After I took a walk to calm down, I went home and told my wife how astoundingly disgusted I was. For the next couple of days every time I thought of the glasses I wound myself up in a tizzy. I constantly stewed and steamed waiting to get to the point that I could deal with it rationally.
Then about a week later a small thought crept in my head. It rolled around my noggin turning into a speculation, till it eventually grew into fully a developed cognition. I was making a complete and total 100% ass of myself.
It hit me that when I picked up the BOGOs (gaaaaa) I could not show them how horribly different they were, because I did not have my old as Methuselah glasses with me. And if I did not have my old Methuselahs with me, I must have been wearing my contacts. And if I was wearing my contacts, it means I hastily tried the BOGOs (@#!&%$!) on over my contacts without taking them off. Of course all I saw was a blurry mess. IDIOT!!! (it works best if you say that in a Ren voice). I then popped out my contacts, slipped on the BOGOs(sob sob) and discovered they were perfect.
So the only thing left for me to ask is which type of ass does that make me?