By Debby Stark (email@example.com)
Summary: Exactly why has Clark Kent always worn glasses? This clever tale from Clark's early childhood offers up an explanation.
This story of a very young Clark Kent comes from Debby Stark (firstname.lastname@example.org):
Jonathan Kent, a handsome farmer in his early 30s, in excellent health carried on a no-nonsense frame, looked a little green around the gills. That's what his wife, Martha, would have said had she not thought better of it when she saw him enter their kitchen. Instead, she said, "Oh, dear, what's wrong? Did that tractor…"
"No, the tractor's just fine. It's Clark…"
She blinked. "What's Clark? What's happened? Where is he?"
"Don't worry, he was trailing right behind me, counting ants, I think, talking to them anyhow…" he sighed. "You know that pile of straw I was saving behind the barn for mulch for your garden?"
"Ah, no, but, what with my birthday coming up I haven't wanted to—"
"No, no, I've got you something a lot nicer than *that*! I've just been piling the straw there for your garden, that's all, except it's not there any more."
She had hoped her joke would lighten his mood but obviously, she told herself, she needed a little more information before she tried again. "Okay…" and she put on her "I'm listening" face, "Where is it?"
"Up in smoke, that's where!"
The light dawned. "Oh, no, now I'm beginning to see. And Clark was looking at it."
"Exactly. He was staring at it, watching for something maybe, a mouse maybe - like he needs another pet… - and it started to smolder. Actually, by then he was off playing somewhere else so he didn't see what happened. I almost didn't see it… First that patch of dried grass on the other side of the hill, then the water trough started to boil - good thing old Bessie wasn't taking a drink - and now that pile of straw. I'm afraid it's only a matter of time before he takes it into his head to look at the house in a funny way…"
She guided him into a seat and wondered for a moment if she should make chamomile tea to sooth his nerves. But, no, it was better to try to ease his mind first. She sat down across from him and caught his eyes. "Now, Jonathan, Clark is a sweet young child and we know he's full of surprises. It's not every child who has to be tethered to his crib at night so he won't float around the room…"
"Yeah, and rounding up the calves in the paddock by carrying them in when they wouldn't come, that *was* unexpected…" He chuckled. "He told me he said please to them several times but that their mothers must not have taught them about that…"
"Um, well, whether or not he starts fires, we agree that he sees better than you and I do, a lot better. I've been thinking that his good vision could cause some trouble, too…"
Just then young Clark, only 5 years old, followed by Dawg-dog, entered the kitchen. "Boy, are we hungry, mom! Are you baking a pie?" And he inhaled deeply, catching every scent in the room.
"Yes, dear, but it's for desert after dinner tonight. You can have an apple if you'd like."
"Okay!" Clark turned sharply, somehow almost a blur, and headed for the pantry. He was such a good child, Martha mused; he'd never purposefully cause them trouble. She'd seen her friends' kids practically go berserk if denied some sugary sweet they imagined their mothers were keeping from them. No, she was raising this family healthily. She patted Jonathan's hands. "I have a plan. Just play along."
He nodded. Sometimes that his pretty wife's schemes were wacko, but more often than not they worked out. Lately she was bugging him about easing the farm toward growing organically. He argued the cost when the bugs found out the poisons weren't there; she argued that people would flock to buy clean food at premium prices. Think of fully paid for early retirement, she's said, and with a son to send to ag college…
Clark returned from the pantry, his mouth already full of sweet, juicy fruit.
"Clark, dear," Martha said, "I've noticed something recently…"
"Whamomee? Oh." He looked down. "I spilted some…" and he bent to pick up bits of apple.
"Don't eat so quickly, please, dear… I've noticed that your father and I wear glasses, but you don't."
Clark straigthened, put the apple bits on the table, wiped his hadn on his shirt, looked thoughtful, and nodded, "Yeth. *Why* don't I, mommy?"
As her friends had warned, he was at the stage where nearly everything that came out of his mouth (when it wasn't bits of apple) was a question. "I don't know, dear, but maybe you'd like to try wearing some for a while."
Clark brightened. "I want to be like you and daddy! When can *I* have some glasses, too?"
"Well, dear, we won't be able to go to the optometrist to test your eyes until the weekend—"
"Optometrist," Jonathan said clearly. Smart as a whip, Clark already liked being read to, and he was going to see that his son had good, clear ennunciation.
"She's the eye doctor, dear. She tests people's eyes to see if they need glasses. But you can practice if you want, I bought some practice glasses for you in town last evening when I went to the anti-nuke plant meeting."
"You got something for *me*?" Clark jumped up on the chair between his mother and father, carefully put his apple down on a paper napkin, and stared at Martha's purse. She knew his excitement was genuine because as much as they loved him they didn't shower him with gifts and so he appreciated everything he was given. Still, that staring was now making her a little uneasy and she took up her purse quickly, hoping he didn't detect her touch of fear.
"Yes, dear, I bought some play glasses for you. Let's try them on."
They were red plastic with clear plastic lenses and they made him giggle as she fit them into place over his round face. He jumped off the chair and ran around the room holding them in place. He looked close at the Dawg-dog, who bounced up and bussed him. He shrieked and ran giggling from the room. In a few moments he was back. He looked at the kitchen clock ("Free o'clock!" "No, son, it's only 2:30." "Everything is 3 o'clock for him at the moment, dear…"). Finally he returned to his chair and, in an exagerated manner, looked all over the table for his apple. "There it is!" He smiled at it intently as he reached for it—
And the juice began to sizzle and the paper napkin caught fire!
Clark fell back, shrieking in fear. Martha caught him, allowing him to bury himself in her arms. Jonathan bounded out of his chair, to the sink, grabbed a glass full of water and put the fire out in no time.
Clark cries calmed to wimpers and gulps. He straightened a little but still clung to his mother. He looked at his father, and Jonathan smiled and said, "There, there, son, these things happen… I guess."
Martha smiled, too. "It's all right now."
"Hafta be careful with fire, Smokey Bear *says*!"
"Yes, that's true - oh, look at your glasses!"
"Oh, my, let me see them, son…" and Jonathan removed the play glasses from his son's flushed face. "Oh, my…"
"What happened to'em??? Are they broken??? I didn't mean to break them…" and he sniffed, tears threatening again.
"No, it looks like they're… melted a little…"
"Listen, Clark," Martha said, and Clark looked at her, obviously hoping she would make everything better. "It appears to me that you looked at that apple in a very special way…"
"Your father and I think so. The way you looked at it seems to have been why the napkin caught fire. If you want to have glasses like we do—"
"Oh, I do!"
"Then you're going to have to figure out how it is you looked in that special way and learn how to control it. It's something only you can do, but you have learned to do so many things."
"Yes, *I* know how to ride the bicycle now."
It was only a tricycle, but the principle was what counted. "And you're learning how to tie your shoes, too, son," Jonathan added. "Learning how to control the way you see things should be easy."
"But I broke my glasses…"
Martha wiped a stray tear from Clark's cheek, happy at last that, while she didn't understand it, there was something about the way his skin was that seemed to protect it from things like hot plastic. "Don't worry, dear, I bought several pairs and you can practice to your heart's content."
"Can I practice now?"
Jonathan laughed, "The sooner the better, I'd say!"
And that's (my) real reason Clark Kent wears glasses. Extrapolate from here for why he continued to wear them after he had mastered his various visions (copying parents and to avoid fights being the two I can think of). Note that leaded glass would deter his x-ray vision. Someone else can write the optomitrist office scene (it's been done before with adult Clark). Debby Stark