Dom Joly: Amusingly, I now wear my own glasses

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The Independent Online

I've always had 20/20 vision. If I'm honest, I used to look at people wearing glasses with a touch of disdain. To me, it was a physical manifestation of a weak gene pool – a little hint that all was not well within their DNA.

I remember people at school wearing glasses: they were "Four Eyes" or the "Milky Bar Kid" (but only if they were Aryan blond and slightly sickly looking). I used to thank the Lord that, with all the other things I had to be teased about, my eyesight was perfect. I just assumed that you were either "weak of the eye" or not.

Obviously I realised that, when I eventually got to 80, or 85, I might need some light reading specs, but that would be fine – it would make me look distinguished and intellectual while reading complicated statutes over the bar of the House of Lords.

Then strange things started to happen. Often, when I was a bit tipsy or a touch tired, I would find it difficult to focus on a menu or a police caution. Initially, I just put it down to the general stress of life, after all I had 20/20 vision and that was never going to go away? Then, slowly, I found myself holding important legal contracts further and further away from my face until I actually couldn't read them. Obviously, because I had 20/20 vision, there was nothing wrong with my eyesight. Eventually I just started signing everything without reading the small print. Lawyers are trustworthy people, after all. Who's ever heard of a crooked lawyer?

Then things got really serious and I knew I was in trouble – I was having problems focusing on my Xbox games. This was a serious issue. After asking around and inquiring whether less masturbation or more carrot consumption might do the trick, I was finally directed towards the local optician. Stacey made an appointment for me. I had tried to, but couldn't read the telephone number on their website.

"That's proof that you need to go and see them," said Stacey triumphantly. She can be so naive. I explained to her that it was the oldest trick in the book for opticians to make their ads too difficult to read so that you would be convinced you needed to see them. Stacey looked at me as though I was an idiot, but still made the appointment. She knew I was right. I could just about see it in her eyes.

Come the day, and the optician took me into his parlour and started doing tests. Long gone are the simple days of reading letters that get progressively smaller. Now you have to focus on houses and lights through special machines. It was decided that I did need glasses and I was given a prescription for lenses.

Did I want to go and choose some frames, he asked, innocently. Jesus Christ! No wonder people with glasses look so depressed – they are clearly bankrupt. I asked whether I could provide my own frames. "Of course," the optician said, with disdain.

I drove home without incident (as far as I could see) and started rummaging around my props cupboard for some frames. Pretty soon – Bingo! I found a pair of black Prada frames with clear lenses. I had used them for my BBC3 chat show This is Dom Joly, although many people (everyone, in fact) missed the point: I was playing a character in that show, a nasty, egotistical TV presenter called Dom Joly.

In hindsight, I should have called him Jom Doly and all would have been clear. I just thought that if I wore glasses, everybody would understand that I was a "character". They didn't. Most people just thought I was an idiot. Now, for the very few who got it, I can shatter their illusions as well. I am now wandering around in the same glasses for real. It's complicated, this showbiz malarkey.