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Sunglasses are a new everyday accessory
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Years ago, I remember when stores had only one or two displays of sunglasses. One was usually Foster Grant and the other was Polaroid. It seems there were only a half dozen styles and a few colors.

Foster Grant was the first sunglasses I remember being nationally advertised. The tagline was “Who’s that behind those Foster Grants?” It featured a who’s who of celebrities.

The Polaroids, made by the same company that gave us instant pictures, were known by their Cool Ray technology that was supposed to do something to protect your eyes.

The stereotypical portrayal of Secret Service agents has them wear sunglasses and whispering into microphones in their jacket sleeves. Yes, they wear sunglasses, but when it’s appropriate.

Appropriate and sunglasses seem to have gone astray. Sunglasses have become the all-the-time accessory. It is my opinion many sunglass wearers don’t fully understand when to wear them and when not to with emphasis on the latter. Tabloid magazines seem to always catch movie stars hiding behind their Foster Grants, or more likely in some fancy-schmancy pair that costs more than a week’s pay for some folks.

I used to work with a crusty old guy who said the only people who should appear on TV wearing sunglasses were rich farmers and movie stars.

I went to a funeral the other day and sat up front because I had a part in the program. From my vantage point, I could see the entire audience. About 20 percent of them had sunglasses on their heads. This was an indoor funeral, and there were no windows allowing light from the outside.

I have been to funerals for law enforcement officials and have seen outdoor officer assemblies called to attention and asked to salute. This should not happen when wearing sunglasses. It’s just plain disrespectful.

The military has all sorts of regulations when it comes to uniforms. One of them plainly states if you are in formation, you better not have on a pair of shades. I applaud that. Before my mama started wearing glasses full time, she wore a pair of dime store reading glasses on a little gold chain. She took them on and off about 100 times a day. Mama had a friend who not only had the chain, but she had a pair of those half-frame reading glasses she kept perched on her nose. What I found interesting is she never removed the glasses from her nose, and my memory of her will always be with that chain drooping along the sides of her face. It wasn’t ugly, it was just weird.

Many of today’s sunglass wearers not only have the spectacles upon their head, but they often have a device holding them around their neck. Knowing what a fancy pair of sunglasses cost, I can understand that. But it falls in the same category as Mama’s friend and her drooping chain.

I hope it is not soon, but when I go, I’m planning a no-sunglass funeral, unless you are blind, a rich farmer or a movie star.

You’re all invited to see it with your own eyes.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on

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