As a child I found it difficult to pick up a book and read. As opposed doing what with it you might ask? Picking up a book and throwing it across the room?
More like tearing out the pages and trying to smoke them! (With a few added ingredients) Turns out the Bible DOES provide some value! Bahhhhhh-Zing! Relax, it’s a fucking joke.
To be honest, as a child even the small bubbles above some of my favorite comic strips seemed to be more of an absorbing task than I was willing to undertake. It could have been because I had a creative mind that didn’t want to conform to the proposed story line that was set forth for the masses to mindlessly ingest. I preferred to imagine my own commentary and create a story that was unique. One that isn’t confined to the four boxes of poorly written and obvious drollery that has been regurgitated from the 50’s.
Why did the chicken cross the road?
Because he was an unoriginal bastard and his highly predictable life of crossing the road for arbitrary reasons forced him to throw himself under the fastest moving eighteen wheeler he could find.
That could have been why I avoided reading. . . .
Or a majority of my disinterest in reading might have boiled down to the fact that I was fucking lazy. Still em. Actually, being lazy is pretty much my hobby. It is a very diverse hobby actually, widely applicable. I can do my hobby pretty much anywhere, at anytime. Not many other hobbies have such a luxury.
Yes, most books bored me as a child (most still do as an adult) and at a young age I equated reading to torture, which I firmly believe derived from two things:
1) All books in school are fucking painfully boring! Shakespeare, Dickens, and what ever else was placed in front of me that was immediately thrown into the back of my locker. Left to collect remnants of chewed gum and overlooked weed scraps. I mean, come on! Great Expectations!? What a fucking false advertisement that was. The only thing “great” about that book was it was thick enough to use as a desk pillow during class.
I think it is a government conspiracy.
This is how they ensure the blue-collar work force is sustained. Bore people to the point of dropping out of high school.
2) The summer reading program put on by my local library. When you are 8-years-old and reading is the devil, walking into a library is pretty much like walking into the flames of hell itself. But what are my parents to do with two intelligent future leaders of tomorrow (my step-brother and step-sister) and a child that was kicked out of pre-school? Yes, true story. I was kicked out of pre-school. An obvious foreshadowing of my accolades to come (i.e.) 0.0 G.P.A spring quarter my sophomore year in high school.
The concept was simple: read a book, fill out a summary worksheet, earn tokens, buy shit with said tokens.
What young preadolescent doesn’t want shove a brand new sparkly pencil up the ass of an anatomically incorrect naked troll with fucked up neon hair?
If I recall correctly I made it through one and a half books that summer. I say one and a ‘half’ because after the first 30 page torturous endeavor I learned a valuable life lesson. Read the back of the book, the first few pages for some character names, and then skim the rest to pick up on some key plot points. That’s right folks, at the ripe old age of 8 I learned that to beat the system, you gotta cheat the system. It was enough of a showing to keep my parents off my back and earn me a few stickers for participation, literally.
Thus my literary development was an even paced crawl through the trenches of underachievement. Managing to sustain enough improvement to carry me from one prison cell to another.
Or as the teachers liked to call it, “From fourth grade to fifth.”
Occasionally I would incite optimism in my parents by bringing home a book from the grade school library that didn’t require me to locate Waldo. A few ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ books popped up on my radar after I was informed by a classmate that they contained some type of violence.
My parents desperation for me to read reached an all time high when I was eleven. Forced to find a book in the public library and told I couldn’t leave until said task was accomplished, I returned with two. One about mafia hits and the other about serial killers.
They were not impressed.
But it turns out they were determined.
I not only was able to check out both books, they actually became the staple of my extracurricular educational development. I remember marveling at how many times my name was sloppy scribbled on the checkout slip that was glued to the back page. Thank God someone out there had the decency to put both of these kick-ass subjects in an easily digestible kid friendly format. Heavy on the photos with quick little blurbs about the most gruesome facts.
Valentines Day Massacre – Al Capone’s north side Italian gang dressed up like cops and slaughtered a rival gang. See photo below:
The Night Stalker (Richard Ramirez) – A serial killer / rapist who was actually detained through the help of mass media. Locals spotted Ramirez and pinned him down until police arrived. Administering a little public justice while waiting.
Wow………….. I would have kicked him in the face!
As you can imagine, this was not the best spring board to propel me through the literary challenges that awaited me in junior high and high school. Try going from stories about the Boston Strangler to ‘The Poems of Edgar Allan Poe’ was a struggle. Edgar Allan Poe, oh fucking yawn! Talk about driving someone mad. Psychologists want to draw a connection between violent video games and school massacres. Maybe they should take a look at the fucking school curriculum.
I don’t actually recall where I learned the motto for my anti-reading campaign that ran through the duration of my teenage years. But having regurgitated it countless times and scribbled it in every book that was assigned to me, I think I have the right to coin it? Not that anyone can really contest it. Trust me, I googled it and nothing came up.
“Reading is knowledge, knowledge is power, absolute power is evil. Thus, reading is evil.”
Seems like a pretty simple case of connect the dots to me.