andrew burke






Posted on: 2023-08-15

Well, I've finally had enough of squinting at high-resolution screens and using my phone's magnifier to read fine-print. I went to the local optometrist and got tested and now I'm a glasses person. Actually, my left eye is terrible at distance while my right eye is terrible at close-up, so they've been compensating for each other, meaning my eyesight is still generally pretty good. I don't need glasses for driving, just for reading. The lenses are set up to have a close focus in the bottom area for reading books and phones, a three-meter focus in the middle for reading screens, and just flat glass at the top for distance.

Anyhow, I picked out some low-key yet somewhat stylish frames. As I get more used to them I might try something more flamboyant, but these are good for now.

The "Successful Aging" book was a highly practical birthday gift a few years back and I'd always meant to get around to reading it. It has quite small text so finally having reading glasses made for a good excuse to dig in on it. It's an interesting book, though in my opinion a bit over-written and could probably have used an editor with a stronger hand - maybe they could have then used a larger font!

One aspect of successful aging is to have good role models. My father died at 45 years old, when I was just a teenager. As I've moved further and further past the last age my father achieved, I've sometimes been at a loss in figuring out where I'm at and how I should be feeling/acting about it. It helps that in dim light I can still pass for someone in their 30s, but there's more to life than just looks. How do I handle aging? And glasses? Well, this weekend I idly decided to watch an old favourite movie, which I vaguely remembered had some glasses content.

Yes, I'm now getting aging advice from Starfleet's own James Tiberius Kirk, in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

Captain Kirk looking at a pair of glasses

Near the start of the movie, Kirk is celebrating a birthday, and his friend Bones brings over some Romulan Brandy but also a special antique gift of a pair of glasses - Kirk turns out to be allergic to the usual 23rd-century treatment of "Retinax 5" so his eyesight has been fading lately. He's also feeling bored and restless, stuck in an earthbound Admiralty job, wishing for more adventure in his life. Well, he certainly gets his wish later on in the movie, but this scene really captures a certain midlife feeling that anybody can relate to.

Someone did the stardate math and looked up various references and calculated that this was Kirk's 52nd birthday, which is my age right now as well. Now, I don't feel that bad about my current career situation (and if I want to captain a starship, I have various options right at home) but it was great watching Kirk getting used to his glasses throughout the movie.

The glasses of course give Shatner some extra physical business to do during scenes that are otherwise just reading and typing numbers into a console, but I'm going to take some physical cues from his performance here. I especially like what he does around the 3:10 mark, and I'm going to try to work "stand by to receive our transmission" into regular conversation from here on in, with just that kind of glasses-off flourish.

Captain Kirk sending Khan a transmission, doing great glasses business

Wrath of Khan was also fun to watch since we just finished season 1 of Strange New Worlds and it fits in well in that timeline and aesthetic. But more on that later. For now, I've got a book to read and some prop-business to practice.

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