By David J. Glenn
It’s predicted that “Harry Potter, ” to be released in the United States this Friday, might surpass “Titanic” in popularity.
I hope so.
The books, which turned the author, a British mother on public assistance, into a millionaire, prompted countless numbers of pre-teens to discover the joys of reading.
Now the movie might spark another change in thinking among the young set — their attitude toward glasses.
Harry Potter has done what no parent, teacher, or optometrist has ever been able to do — make wearing glasses cool.
And we’re not talking about slick, designer glasses, either — Harry’s spectacles are big, black, and round, the very type that would normally qualify him in the judgment of middle schoolers as a nerd.
Now kids are starting to take out their contacts and don their old, bulky glasses once again. Even some youngsters who don’t need glasses are sporting non-prescription pairs.
If only Harry Potter had come along in the 1950s. I likely would have been spared the taunts of ‘four-eyes,” “nerd,” and all the rest of it. (It didn’t help that my particular glasses were Coke-bottle-bottom thick, but it seemed that kids who didn’t need glasses always made fun of those who did, no matter the thickness of the lens).
As fate would have it, the character popular at the time was Mr. McGoo, the cartoon uber-nerd who was always bumping and falling because he was nearsighted. I never thought it was so funny, and I still didn’t when Disney revived the movie a few years ago. I have as good a sense of humor as anyone — it’s just that I spent most of my life trying not to regard my very poor vision as a handicap, while my peers and Hollywood bombarded me with the message that nearsightedness meant being a clumsy, laugh-provoking goofball.
Because of a cataract operation and lens implant, I don’t need thick glasses anymore, just reading glasses.
But I know what nearsighted kids have been going through.
And I’m glad Harry’s on the scene.