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Conspiracy Theory: Paranoia and Wal-Mart Glasses
by Lonnye Sue Sims Pearson

It’s a conspiracy; I just know it is. Probably started by the Fascists in the ‘40s, passed on to the Communists in the ‘50s, and picked up by our own government’s intelligence agencies in the ‘60s -- only to be widely used as a tool of torture and manipulation of the growing segment of our population known as the “aged,” or “elderly,” or…sigh… “Baby Boomers.” It has trickled down to physicians and attorneys and the IRS (a government agency, I might add) already, so Lord knows, it was only a matter of time before the media got into the swing.

Some of you may scoff at my theory, but only because you think you’re too smart or rich or healthy or cagey to succumb to such machinations by “them.” But you will…one day. And when you do, you’ll remember my warning and wish you had listened to me.

However, as I said to my children for years, nobody ever listens to me, so you’ll be condemned to the same fate as every other tortured and manipulated “older person.”

Several years ago I noticed that my arms had shortened a bit with age. The discovery happened during choir practice one Wednesday night after church. I realized that I could read the words to the piece we were practicing more clearly if I looked over the shoulder of the soprano standing in front of me at her folder instead of mine. No big deal. I would just hang by my hands on the shower rod for two or three minutes every morning and before long my arms would be back to their normal length.

After weeks of hanging around with no discernible improvement, I gave up. Finally I had to move to the back row with the tenors and ask the soprano to hold her folder slightly to the right.

Within a mere five years, I relented and bought a pair of Wal-Mart reading glasses. Right back to the alto section I went and happily stayed there through three different strengths of magnification.

By that time I had become quite health conscious; you know, watching fat grams and sodium intake. But food manufacturers were in on the conspiracy as well, and so they printed the ingredients and percentages and USDA recommendations in barely readable size type. I stood in the aisle at Kroger struggling to make out the numbers while other customers picked up one can or box after another, glanced at the back or side and dropped them into their baskets.

And don’t even think employees of these establishments are paid to be helpful! I stopped one young man and asked him to tell me how many fat grams were in one serving of a particular brand of chili and he looked at me as if I’d lost my mind. He did read the information to me, but when I picked up the box of macaroni and cheese he shoved his basket between a young mother’s and mine and rushed away. Well, how was I to know he wasn’t an employee? He was wearing a green polo shirt in Kroger, for goodness sake!

After much cajoling from family and friends, I went to the optometrist. I left with a prescription for bifocals, of all things. I will admit I was able to read labels again, but it took a while to be able to walk up and down stairs without stumbling.

Over the years I’ve noticed the conspiracy is spreading. First textbooks, then novels, magazines, and now newspapers.

A few months ago, a group of researchers at some prestigious university published a study (one I needed a magnifying glass to read!) stating that one of the best ways to stave off Alzheimer’s disease is to work crossword and encrypted puzzles. I’ve been doing that forever, but now that the print media has entered the conspiracy I’m having trouble reading clues. It’s embarrassing to have to ask my seven-year-old grandson to read them to me.

At first I thought it was just time to change prescriptions in my lenses, but then it came to me. How easy it would be to control the masses if the masses couldn’t read the printed word. Shoot, don’t burn the books; just make the print too small for any halfway sighted person to read.

Have you tried to read the words to a song printed on that little insert in your newest CD? What about the “non-covered” clause of your health insurance policy? Or the instructions telling you how to set the clock on the VCR? Well, I have…tried, that is. It can’t be done. I am doomed to singing “…there’s a bathroom on the right” along with whatever Creedance Clearwater Revival says while warning me not to go out, hoping I’m not diagnosed with one of those “non-covered” illnesses and watching the blinking zeroes on my VCR.

And while I’m at it…have you noticed the trend toward whispering by actors these days?

Another conspiracy in the works. I just know it. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.


Lonnye Sue Sims Pearson grew up in the Mississippi Delta, but now calls North Carolina home. She’s an English teacher (one of THOSE), and she loves to share her stories.

Write Lonnye Sue at Deltamiss2002

To read more of Lonnye Sue’s tales at USADS, visit these links:
Fessin’ Up Is Hard To Do
Mamaw And The Night Visitors
Hail To The Chief Drive In Movie

For more, click on the USADEEPSOUTH Articles Page.


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