Everybody looks cooler in shades. Even toddlers. As a bonus, they’re a real help when the sun’s a blazin’. They are the pinnacle of fashion meets function, and as such, sunglasses bypass the scrutiny one might get by the fashionistas among us, those brash enough to admonish someone in a hot leather jacket or a pair of wild boots. But when you get into a good, fresh pair of shades, without scratches and a sultry look? Well, roll me in shit and dip me in sugar — we’ve made it to Candy Land! Coolness. Protection. Performance. Even the cost can be relatively low. What more do you want?

But, oh, the travesty and heartache they conjure. When we first own good sunglasses, their care is of the highest priority: we keep them in their case, close to our chest — or face, I should say — and never, ever would we share them, especially with our grubby-fingered offspring. For we know, intrinsically, that no matter how hard we attempt to preserve them, they won’t last long. They slip away into the night, forgotten, sunken, stolen, scratched, crushed, or lost altogether. Which makes no sense! They should rank right behind the phone, wallet, and keys in the important personal-effects quotient, items most people rarely lose. (I’m sorry if you’re one of those people.) 

As you can tell, I’m a little bitter. I recently lost a nice pair, quite young in their new life. They were of high quality and felt real right on my face, good for everything from sun to grocery shopping. (I figure people don’t like talking to people who wear sunglasses grocery shopping, and while I like people, I hate every single second I’m in a grocery store.) I lost them paddleboarding, after a beer or four perhaps, and a slight shiver from the waning sun, my thoughts on how good life can be through glazed, polarized eyes. And then, kablooooosh! Gone, even after my frantic, murky, breaststroking dives into the life aquatic. I was useless at getting anywhere near them. How many once-loved sunglasses lie at the bottom of water bodies worldwide? It’s an odd thing: they are something we need, parade around, and love but don’t actually care about in the end. But continue to love those shades. Love them like they’re the last pair you’ll ever own. Until you get the next pair you can’t live without.