GAYS MILLS - Twilight Zone was a great TV series that ran from 1959-1964. Rod Serling was the creative genius and host behind this innovative show. The show had a new cast of characters every week that introduced a lot of young actors and future stars to us on the small screen. The stories dealt with science fiction, paranormal, or futuristic themes and stood out from the herd of westerns and sitcoms otherwise available in those days. There was usually a surprising twist and often a moral at the end of each half hour Twilight Zone episode. Anyone familiar with the show recognizes the telltale haunting “nu-nu-nu-nu” theme song that people still voice whenever something strange happens, 58 years after it was first heard.
One memorable episode had a quiet, studious man slowly discovering that he was completely and inexplicably alone in his hometown. (He was a cast of one in that episode.) The man was an avid reader and he gravitated to the local library. Rather than panicking, he saw this new situation as a perfect opportunity to read, read, read, to his heart’s content. He was excited about it. The last scene shows him coming down the library steps carrying a sizeable stack of books. He decided to sit down right there in the sunshine and start reading. But as he stooped down, his glasses fell off. Confused, he stepped on them and they shattered. And there he was, surrounded by books and unable to read. Classic Twilight Zone.
I thought of that episode a few years ago when I had a similar experience. I was flying out to visit a friend in Washington State. I always take books along when I travel and was looking forward to reading on this red-eye, overnight flight. I use “readers,” off-the-rack glasses, no prescription necessary. With no time to read while making a quick connecting flight in Minneapolis, I didn’t realize I was without the specs until somewhere over Nebraska; and I was going to have a four-hour layover in Denver! I think I left the glasses on the shuttle flight between LaCrosse and Minneapolis.
No problem, I thought. I’ll just buy some readers at the Denver airport. Problem: an airport is a poor place to buy glasses in the middle of the night. I finally found some in an eclectic 24-hour gift shop in the massive airport. They fit, they worked, everything was copasetic except…. these were not the kind of glasses I would usually buy. All the glasses available had cute little sequins and other decorations on the frames - the Princess model! I really questioned how badly I wanted to read. I wasn’t tired enough to sleep in the sleep-defying airport chairs and, shucks, I didn’t know anyone here, so I took the plunge.
Airports are notorious for being great places to people-watch. I joined the parade of ‘watchables,’ found a secluded and unpopulated alcove of chairs and read until it was time to board.
The moral of this story: always carry a spare pair. Nu-nu-nu-nu.