After years of wrestling with fears—arguably blown way out of proportion by my overactive imagination—I finally broke down last month and got Lasik surgery. (Read more about Lasik’s increasing popularity on page 53.)

(And, no, VSP didn’t pay me to write this column.)

I’ll never forget that day in the fifth grade when I walked into my classroom for the first time wearing those glasses. Sure, I could see, but let’s just say that back in the late-1970s, eyeglasses weren’t exactly fashion forward.

I’d wear glasses for the next seven years, graduating into contacts shortly after doffing my own cap and gown. That—and the removal of my braces—marked the end of an era for me. While I was still a nerd on the inside, I could at least pass for normal in the halls of my local community college. (Remember, this was light years before geek was chic. Thanks for that “Big Bang Theory.”)

But I digress. After finding out I was “eligible” for Lasik, I was ushered into the finance office, where the guy—with a very unfinance-like job title “Refractive coordinator”—started going over payment options. I suddenly felt like I was back in that Miami dealership picking up my new Jeep just a few months earlier.

Call me a sucker, but I went with the highest of the three tiers, which included a lifetime guarantee on adjustments and a free iPad Air. (Which is when my wife proceeded to tell me it wasn’t free. “Look at the numbers,” she chastised. “You’re buying it.”)

But I didn’t wanna lowball my vision. Three days later I was on the table: high on Valium—which was optional, but c’mon, who are we kidding?—and eyes as numb as Stevie Wonder.

The doctor—actually ranked as the best Lasik surgeon in the Denver metro—pried my right eye open in pure Kubrick fashion. My vision faded to black as he sliced through the cornea to open the flap. Next thing I knew, a kaleidoscope of colors danced across my vision like some kind of acid trip—or 60s science fiction. The laser pulsing across my eyeball didn’t really hurt, but the smell of burning hair was a bit unsettling.

After the other eye got the same laser-boarding treatment, my wife drove me home.

The next 14 hours were a blur, both literally and figuratively. Then, for the first time in roughly 30 years, I woke up, turned my head, and was able to read the alarm clock. I suddenly felt like an extra in an old tent revival service. For me, it felt like a miracle.

Second-best money I ever spent—after that last engagement ring, anyway.

Oh, and I’m still waiting on that free iPad.