Reading is Fundamental! *gag*

by Jason Alan

Read, or you’ll make Book Man sad.

If you’re anything like me, when you went to school you were set down on an operating table, a large hole was drilled into your skull and the importance of reading was forcefully jammed into it with all the finesse and subtlety of Genghis Kahn on a pork chop. From what I remember, it was stressed as the single most important thing that one should do, aside from eating and breathing, and I’m not even sure it would be last on that list.

The blonder you are, the harder it gets.

So there they were, those inane motivational posters, stickers and signs everywhere I went, the most pervasive of the lot were constantly reminding me that I and everyone else should read more. Sadly, none of them were anything like the one on the left. The simple thing they didn’t seem to comprehend is the fact that some of us actually like to read, whether you pound it into us on a daily basis or not. But more importantly, some of us (strap on your seat belts, folks) do not like to read and never will. Some people, believe it or not, actually prefer to wrench on a car or style hair, and that’s fine. The world needs mechanics and, apparently hairstylists as well (see left, again).

For those of us who do not like to read, one of the reasons is that they aren’t very good at it, and practice will improve skills, and that in turn increases the likelihood of enjoyment. I get it. But here’s a ‘novel’ idea. How about giving kids something to read that is specific to their particular interests? It also might help to make reading seem a little ‘cooler’, in a practical way. Unlike this:

That type of thinking didn’t apply to me, though. I can’t even tell you how many times I sat around as a child pretending that I was a worm who wore glasses. Screw dragons and dinosaurs and GI Joe. It was all about worms and shit.

The basic point I’m trying to make here, besides that I’m a sarcastic jerk, is that while reading is important, it doesn’t need to be shoved up our backsides all the time. Not everyone likes reading so much, and that’s ok. As long as they can fill out an application and understand STOP, YIELD, MERGE, etc., they’ll be fine. As a society we need to focus on our kids’ strong points. Put the math nerds in a more advanced arithmetic class and science. Point the readers and writers toward classic literature, poetry, Latin and other languages. The kids who enjoy working with their hands can go to metal or wood shop. Throw the sporty kids a basketball and give the lazy ones drama class.

Teach them all to be well rounded, yes, please. But put more of a focus on what they actually enjoy doing. And for God or Pete’s sake, teach them not just to read, but to read BOTH sides of important issues with an open mind. There are too many morons out there as it is who vote for a candidate based only on what party they are, or refuse cold hard facts in favor of what their preacher has been telling them all their life. I’m not trying to dig on religion right now, but if you believe the earth is only 6,000 years old, then reading isn’t the only thing that’s fundamental.

And don’t even get me started on the three R’s, only one of which actually start with an R. *headdesk*