There are certain things your ophthalmologist never tells you -- like where to find your glasses after you misplace them. There ought to be a handbook with explicit diagrams on where to locate missing glasses.

I put off getting reading glasses for years. Then, at age 40, my eyes changed overnight. At 39 I was operating at 20/20. The morning of my 40th birthday I awakened and couldn't read the fine print on the cereal box. I did what any woman does: I went into denial and made a spectacle of myself.

Dining out, I scanned a menu and thought I had ordered chicken. I realized when the entree arrived I had, in fact, chosen a braised goat.

"Sorry," I told the waitress, "I don't eat goat."

"You ordered it."

"Did not."

"Did so."

We bantered like this for a while until she finally said: "Maybe you need glasses."

The following week I stumbled into my doctor's office and told him the goat story.

"The eyes are the first to go," he said. I shuddered at what body part would follow next.

"I never needed glasses before."

"It happens to the best of us. Reading glasses go with the territory."

Then he handed me the bill. I thought it read fifteen dollars, but because I was practically blind from the drops, I missed a few digits. So, I got myself a pair of reading glasses, and that's when the real trouble began.

It's a well-known fact that people who own reading glasses never have them for long. We're always losing them. Not only can't we remember where we put them, but we need the specs in order to find the specs.

I lose mine regularly. The last time, I left them in the freezer next to the ice cream container. I was checking the fat grams when the phone rang. I scurried off leaving my glasses behind. When I returned hours later, they had frozen solid. I couldn't even tell they were glasses. All I saw were two lenses looking out at me with an icy stare.

Then there was the day my glasses fell into the cat's litter box. The cat later used the box and buried the glasses under a clump of litter. It took me days to find them.

When I did, I didn't feel comfortable wearing them. The cat was insulted. I bought a new pair and proceeded to misplace them that same afternoon. I had left them in the mailbox, the red flag up, so the mailman took them away.

"Have you seen my glasses?" I asked him the next day.

"Yes, but they weren't stamped so I brought them back. You need to stamp all items. Postal regulations."

I put my glasses down and forgot about them. I never did figure out where they were, so I spent hours doing some fancy detective work. I interrogated myself: Where were you on the morning of April 2nd at precisely 10:45 a.m.? I came up with nothing. By the end of every calendar year, I have probably lost a dozen pairs of glasses, one for each month.

My worst eyeglass incident occurred last month. On a Sunday afternoon, we invited a few friends over for lasagna. Somewhere between the ricotta cheese, the mozzarella, the tomato sauce and the noodles, my glasses disappeared. I never found them, but that evening a guest told me that the lasagna tasted very crunchy, and had I added something new to the recipe. I think she ingested a lens and part of the frame. Luckily, these were expensive designer glasses, and easily digestible.

There's a happy ending to this story: she called me later that week telling me her eyesight had miraculously improved, and she couldn't quite figure out why.

"Some things in life simply can't be explained," I said, inadvertently wiping my glasses with a soggy lettuce leaf, and tossing them in the garbage disposal never to be seen again.

Judith Marks-White is a Westport writer who shares her humorous views each Wednesday. She can be reached by e-mail at joodth@snet.net or at www.judithmarks-white.com.