I haven’t seen you in Shaw’s market this week. In fact, I haven’t run into any of you anywhere to share my news. I thought I saw one or two of you in Augusta at a restaurant, eating baby back ribs, and I did wave at you as I drove past you at the new Trafton Road interchange in Waterville. You were confused, and I don’t feel so sorry for you. You wanted that damn road, and now you’re stuck with it.

News? Oh yes, I’m going to have a cataract procedure. They insist on calling it “surgery.” I don’t like that word and never use it. I like “procedure.”

It’s still scary, this messing with my eyes, but time does march on.

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t even bother you with this. I mean, most of you seem to have already had it done, just as I get no sympathy with my troubled knee, because 75 percent of my loyal readers have had two knees, one hip, elbow and ankle replacements already. And you’re 10 years younger than I am.

So I declined to bring it up, but then I thought, considering the startling changes in my appearance that will become immediately noticeable, I had better let you in on the news.

I am already way past the age where such a procedure is required. My doctor who will perform this procedure told me it’s time, and that in one eye at least, I have “significant” cataract buildup. Doctors — in fact, most professionals — seem to like using that word in their assessments. My knee doctor told me I have “significant” arthritis in my troubled left knee.

This annoying word seems to be going around like the flu. My therapist informed me that I have made “significant progress,” and even my dental hygienist told me this week that I’ve had “significant” improvement in plaque buildup.

Hold on. This will amuse you. The man who cuts my grass recently informed me that I have “significant” buildup of crab grass in my front lawn. Now, this is a man who never uses words like “significant.” I suspect he got that from one of my doctors. In fact, I think he does both of my doctors’ lawn work.

I’m getting off point. I originally believed that because of this procedure, I would no longer have to wear glasses. This alarmed me. I first started wearing glasses at the age of 69. Now, you know how long ago that was.

At first I was disturbed, thinking it would age me in appearance; but like many sudden changes, it had its good side. I went out and used what was left of my California money to buy an assortment of fun designer glasses. You’ve seen most of them. My glasses have become a signature of sorts.

So when Mrs. Emery, the technical specialist who “measured” my eyes, told me that because of a tiny stigmatism in my left eye, I might have to continue wearing glasses, but with one side in plain glass, I was relieved.

Now I can go out and buy inexpensive nonprescription sunglasses, the cool designer aviator-style glasses that the stars of stage and screen wear.

I’ll have two pairs: the very dark aviator type that NBC news guys wear when on the job in the Mideast or that Robert Redford wore in “Three Days of the Condor” in 1975. In fact, everyone in the ’70s wore them. Sonny Bono wore them. In fact, Cher herself wore them.

And the second pair will be the slightly tinted sort that aging stars wear when appearing on late-night comedy shows. I think I’ll go with a slight amber or lilac tint.

Some have noticed that I’m letting my hair grow to an early season length. This is part of my plan to make significant changes to my persona in these, my golden years.

Combined with improved movement and the always fun autumnal wardrobe, I may actually reverse the aging process that has been shadowing me lately.

Yes, the localized arthritis and the tiny stigmatism will still be there, but as always, “It’s better to look good than feel good.” That trope is still significantly apt.

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer.


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