News Opinion

Thursday 20 October 2016

As the light fails, my superpowers grow

Published 13/06/2016 | 02:30

These bizarre devices would only diminish Brendan's supersight.
These bizarre devices would only diminish Brendan's supersight.

I note that type is getting smaller. Not just in the newspapers. Magazines, books, menus. . . It's everywhere. It seems to be a uniform phenomenon across everything I read. It's obviously a new thing. Just like trousers and shirts are getting tighter.

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If you are noticing this thing in your reading material too, don't worry. I have a solution. You just need to hold things a bit further away. You will find that the more it goes on, the further away you have to hold things. I am thinking of investing in a selfie stick, just to get those extra inches of distance that makes the type clearer. My wife says I will soon have to leave the room and back out the door fully, while leaving the item I am reading in the first room.

I am aware that this all seems like a contradiction, having to hold it further away because the type is too small. You would think if writing was too small you would want it nearer your eyes. But trust me, nearer is bad news. Almost makes you nauseous. It's obviously something built into these new small typefaces they have come up with - the further away, the clearer they become. Some kind of gimmick or optical illusion thing. But it's good news too. Because presumably the fact that I can read small type from further away means there's nothing wrong with my eyesight.

The issue is slightly exacerbated by the fact that places are getting darker. Light in general seems to be diminishing everywhere. And the darkness seems to be a bit thicker. It is probably down to what Flann O'Brien calls the mollycules. They are heavier in the air these days. You can almost see them swimming in front of you when you're trying to read in any kind of space that is not properly lit. Still, sez you, at least while I can see the heavy mollycules that means the eyes are working 20/20. It's when you can't see them anymore that you have to worry.

These days my eyesight is so good that it actually takes it a while to warm up. In the mornings things can be a bit blurry for a minute while my supersight charges itself up, and often, when starting to read, it takes a minute to kick in, almost as if it was having to focus.

But let's face it, a man would want perfect vision these days what with how they have darkened down all the public spaces. Some restaurants these days are like those places where they simulate the experience of being blind so you can empathise with the visually impaired and focus more on taste and sensation.

And as for my hearing, it's a curse. My hearing is still so damn good that I can barely hear anything when I'm in a pub or a restaurant because I'm so tuned in to any background music or clatter. It's like having bionic hearing. Someone is leaning in to me talking and I have to keep saying "What?" because all I can hear is the music and the chat and the general bustle. For most of you, that kind of noise probably fades into the background. But when you have perfect hearing like mine, it's there in the foreground, so powerful that it's drowning out the things you want to hear. In fact, my hearing is so good that I am considering giving loud restaurants and pubs a miss because I am too finely tuned for them. They are Too Loud, if you can imagine that. I prefer a nice quiet place now. But at least I'm not getting old and decrepit.

My wife has a much more negative spin on much of this. She is actually suggesting that I get something called reading glasses, which I think seem to be glasses to normalise the eyesight of people like me, whose eyesight is too good. I am resisting this. Why would I want to handicap myself to be average? Why would I want to diminish my superpowers? Besides which, glasses would make me look like a fat ugly version of Morrissey -and no one needs that. I'll make do with a selfie stick for now.

The other alternative is that I might start a campaign to get typefaces made bigger for people like me, who suffer from superior eyesight. Why should we be dragged down by everyone else? It's handy enough on the Kindle, because you can make the typeface bigger.

And apparently there are books you can get printed in larger print for those with keener eyesight. I have to stop now. Looking at the screen is making me want to puke.

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