I’m stuck in a cruel loop that shows no signs of ending in the discernable future, kind of like Groundhog’s Day, except without the hilarious chemistry of Bill Murray to lead us through an otherwise mundane plot about the psychic abilities of oversized house rats.

Also, the oversized house rats are all wearing shades in my version.

You see, here’s my problem – you may have noticed recently on the news or something, but the Sunshine State of Florida where I call my home these days has this tendency to offer an abundance of very bright light throughout the majority of the waking hours. I really wasn’t surprised by this – heck, that nickname is plastered over signs and banners and even souvenirs to mail back home to all of our friends reminding them that Florida, indeed, gets a crapload of sunlight (note: trademark “Florida – We’ve Got a Crapload of Sunshine … Come Get Some!” – spring break slogan gold!). But it’s certainly something that while although I thought I was doubly prepared for when I first set foot in this alligator-encrusted homeland, the current times are proving to preach a much different story about my ability to block 95% of UV rays on my own…

The trouble is, I came to this fair state nearly five years ago with a great pair of sunglasses – you know, one of those pairs that you see in the mall for an outrageous sum of money and think, “No idiot in his right mind would ever spend that kind of money on a stupid pair of sunglasses!” Well, I did, or rather I got them as a last-minute gift as a way of saying, “Good luck in Florida – try not to get skin cancer…” and for the next couple of years, life in this bright, bright state of ours was anything but to me behind my super-expensive, all-filtering shades. It was my understanding that they even added +1 to my Coolness attribute, an attribute that I sadly just decreased by -3 with that Dungeons & Dragons reference, but needless to say, it was pretty freakin’ sweet when I had those sunglasses.

As you can probably guess, however, this is where our story takes an ugly turn because eventually came a day when my awesome shades were no more, broken under the weight of just being loved too much, I like to think, although it’s probably more likely that they were broken under the weight of my accidentally sitting on them one day when they slipped out of my pocket while eating lunch at the local chicken shack. I was devastated because not only was it like losing a good friend who was always with me through bright times and dark over the years, it was like losing a good friend who I couldn’t in my right mind afford to replace on my current salary without going without food for the better part of the month! I’d have to go back to wearing those cheap sunglasses that one buys off the rack at the local superstore for $9.88 a pair and then proceeds to lose before they even make it out of the store in shame … was that really a road that I was prepared to turn down?

Well, sadly as I have gotten somewhat accustomed to eating over the years, I threw in the towel that was my dignity, ordered up a big, Fat Albert-sized helping of Humble Pie, and picked myself up a pair of those el cheapo shades that don’t require monthly payments as my former sunglasses did. Then about three weeks after the fact, I walked back into said discount superstore and bought another pair of el cheapo shades, and mind you not so much because I loved the things so dearly and wanted to buy pairs for all of my friends, but more along the lines of the el cheapo things lived up to their el cheapo name and promptly broke not long after having left the store with them. It was a simple break – the arm of the sunglasses apparently just one day decided that it wanted to live the rest of its life unattached from the rest of its sunglass counterparts – however this was also when I sadly earned that the ever-popular concept of “warranty” does not apply when one is purchasing el cheapo sunglasses.

It’s always important to read the fine print, kids, and also, to consider that it should serve as a warning sign when you’re purchasing a product referred to even by the store employees themselves as el cheapo sunglasses.

So basically, take that little scenario and just play it over and over and over again, a la Groundhog’s Day, and you’ve pretty much got my current situation with regards to owning a pair of sunglasses here in the Sunshine State. Sometimes the arms break, sometimes the lenses pop out, and sometimes the entire apparatus just up and disintegrates right off the front of my face, but it’s pretty much like clockwork at this point – give me a pair of cheap sunglasses, and within three weeks time, I’ll hand them back to you in a mangled pile of wires and UV-resistant plastic incapable of being worn by any man, woman, or even dog whose owners are cruel enough to try to dress him up like a people even though it’s clear that he just wants to be a stinkin’ dog. The only real benefit to having this skill would be if you had a strong desire to waste $14.87 about every three weeks by buying the exact same poorly-made eyewear over and over again, and my research thus far shows that nobody in our current society really has that desire.

And as far as I can tell, the only real way for me to buck this horrendous cycle of sunglass-shattering events would be to spring for a new pair of overpriced, non-el cheapo sunglasses, but seeing as my fiancée if consulted would probably prefer that we pay for our wedding this fall rather than buy me a new pair of sunglasses, it looks like I’m going to be stuck going through sunglasses like FOX goes through horrible ideas for reality TV shows for at least a little while longer!

Next week on FOX: from the people who brought you Foxy Boxing and To Wed a Dwarf, a new reality adventure about a man so desperate to get a pair of sunglasses that don’t suck that he’s actually willing to eat all of his meals for a month off the floor of the very sunglass section where he’s been buying cheap sunglasses for far too long! Will he make it the full 30 days and walk away with the shades of a lifetime, or will he crumble in defeat and go home with nothing more than A Dirty, Hairy Mouthful? Monday night at 9:00pm, dinner is served…