Eye of the Tiger’s Last Ride

April 4, 2010 at 1:25 pm (Cussed Dumbers, On the road again...)

Now I understand why people spend more than $20 on sunglasses.

Being a night worker, I’m used to dim surroundings, but I’m not a vampire. I go out during daylight hours. Unless it’s pouring down rain, I have a tendency to wear sunglasses. If I carry sunglasses and an umbrella? I’m covered for most of Oregon’s weather. I’ve been carrying the same umbrella for four years now. I pilfered it from Grinder, who claimed it as roadkill at the store. (He found a bigger one, so I took his.) While my track record with this umbrella is great, I’ve been through more than a few pairs of sunglasses.

I started buying dollar pairs of shades at the now-defunct Phoenix Pharmacy. I’d pay my utility bills there, and browse the rack next to the cashier line. I’d bought enough dollar pairs to last several years. They may be cheap, but they’re tough! After the last pair bit the big one, I had to upgrade. I went to the Step-Van on 82nd & SE Foster and picked out two pair of $5 sunglasses; aviators and a pair of oval-shaped green-tinted hippie shades. The aviators are still waiting for their public debut. The hippie shades have been getting a workout until recently.

The store’s roadkill pile had a pair of not-so-cheap sunglasses someone had left behind. They were ‘nerd’ frames, thick and black with subtle tiger stripes. The lenses were great; they filtered the sun while making things appear brighter. Dr T told me to take them or he was trashing them, so I gave ’em a try. Excellent!

Dr T smirked when I tried them on. I looked in the mirror. “I should be playing saxophone!” I made a gummy face and began playing imaginary brown notes.

Dr T said, “You look like Bleeding Gums Murphy’s half-baked honky step-brother.”

I took this as a compliment of the highest form, and began wearing the shades daily. Until the other night.

It was raining hard when I caught the bus, so I hadn’t yet pulled the shades out. When I did put them on, something was definitely wrong. The frame had cracked, and one of the lenses had fallen out. I spent several minutes getting the lens to hold in place, and got them on my face. The next time they came off would be the last.

I arrived at work. Pan asked me if I was okay. “Yeah, why?” He didn’t elaborate. I stepped out and began walking around, killing time. I ran into Dr T, who was heading to the store’s office. He gave me a funny look.

“It’s the glasses, isn’t it?”

“Somebody punch ya? You look like a psychedelic version of one of the Hansen Brothers.”

“Nah, I managed to break them somehow between last night and tonight.” I was standing next to a trash can. I tossed them. “Rest in pieces.”

I was squinty-eyed for the rest of the daylight hours. Immediately upon arriving home I fetched the oval-shaped hippie glasses and stuck them back in the side pocket of my backpack, where they’ve ridden unharmed for over a year. The Tiger Eyes? They probably cost $50 and lasted me about three weeks.

Now I understand why I refuse to spend more than $5 for sunglasses…

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