I'm starting to see a crack in this savings scheme | Sam Venable

Here’s how my father once explained the concept of false economy: “It’s the guy who takes extra-long strides to avoid wearing out his $20 shoes and rips his $50 pants.”

I pulled a similar stunt a few days ago. Neither pants nor shoes were harmed, but my eyeglasses sure took a beating.

I’ve needed corrective vision since the fourth grade. Specs at first, then contact lenses, then a combination of both.

Sometime in my early 60s, bifocals entered the scene. This created a weird, on-off pattern. Wearing contacts, I had to put on close-up glasses to read. But if I was wearing far-off glasses, they had to be removed before I could read. Sorta like juggling bowling balls and thimbles at the same time.

In early 2020, I came down with the Big C. Cataracts. The surgery sounded dreadful.

“What?! You’re gonna carve on my eyeballs? And I’ll be awake the whole time? Aaak!”

Relax, said the doc. Piece of cake. It’s done with lasers and over in minutes. You won’t feel a thing, and you’ll be amazed at the improvement.

Holy enlightenment! The results were outstanding!

Cataract patients have the option of getting “near” or “far” implant lenses. (Well, yes; one of each is available, but I nixed that from the get-go. If I want whacko vision, I’ll drink heavily.)

I went the “far” route and now enjoy razor-sharp distant eyesight. Since surgery, the “worst” I’ve ever tested was 20/20. Once, I even locked in on 20/15.

The tradeoff, of course, comes in the close-up department. Unless words are printed in boxcar letters, I can’t make them out. Thus the need to invest deeply in cheap “drugstore readers.” I keep ’em everywhere: bedroom, office, car, boat, you name it. Often, I wear a pair on a neck strap.

Just one problem: El-cheapos break easily — especially if they’re dangling from your neck when you lift a heavy object and reflexively pull it to your chest. Crack-snap!

Even purchased in bulk, the cost adds up. After numerous lifting accidents, I finally trained myself to swing the strap to my back, putting the el-cheapos out of harm’s way.

A few days ago, Mary Ann and I were delivering groceries for our church’s food pantry. At one stop, I proudly demonstrated the swing-around-to-my-back technique before hoisting a heavy bag. She was impressed.

She was less-than-impressed moments later when I flopped into the car seat, forgetting to swing the glasses back around to the front. Crack-snap!

I yelled something about “sheets at the sunny beaches!” Mary Ann snickered. And I’ll bet out there in the Great Beyond, Big Sam was laughing hard enough to split his britches.

Sam Venable’s column appears every week. Contact him at sam.venable@outlook.com.

This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: I'm starting to see a crack in this savings scheme | Sam Venable