Reading: a difficult and scary task

Before Christmas, my grandchildren would naturally talk over and over again about what they wanted for Christmas and it was all video games.

“I want Assassin’s Creed 3.”

“I want Halo 4”

“There is a new game, grandpa, it’s called Mine sweeper“Said Don,” It’s on the PC and it’s only $ 29.95. “

Now while I love video games as much as the next grandpa, my favorite is World of warcraft. I bought a Xbox 360 and some games for him on eBay but I really don’t like the controller and found that I could play any game to some extent. For example I thought Red dead redemption It was great, and it was except for …

It was great to the point where I had to race Bonnie across the country on my trusty steed and kept falling off my horse and getting lost. I fell off my horse and got lost so many times that I decided I had better things to do (like play World of Warcraft) and went back to my PC.

The same thing happened with Skyrim. I ended up in a small room that seemed to have no exit. I was wandering around the room for several days and never found any way out, so I decided I had better things to do (like play World of warcraft) and went back to my PC.

So my encounters with the XBox have been pretty unproductive.

But I don’t want to give the impression that I don’t do anything other than play video games: actually read a lot of. I’ve always read a lot since I was a kid, starting with comics and graduating with novels, mostly science fiction and some westerns. Although they weren’t the Grand Classics, I was still expanding my imagination and increasing my vocabulary (I think). My wife, who grew up in a different environment where nothing came through the door except classics (including comics that were illustrated classics), never saw or touched what she was reading.

But at least we were both Reading. Not so with my grandchildren.

“I’ll tell you what, Don,” I said, a little weary from the endless talk about video games. “I’ll buy you a book. We’ll go to the bookstore and you choose. What kind of books do you like?”

You could see the wheels turning in Don’s brain as he tried to absorb a completely strange new thought. “Oh.” They kept turning. “Well, I like a book that has humor. And I don’t like it dragging in the middle.”

A couple of days passed, Christmas came and went, and while Don was learning the new monk class in WOW on my computer in my den Sunday afternoon, I said, “Okay Don, it’s time to buy your new book”.

He gave me a look at someone who encounters Judgment Day and all the sins he had committed in his life. He mumbled “OK” and followed me to the door. On the way to the used bookstore (all the new ones in our town have closed), the conversation went something like this:

“I worry that if I start it I won’t be able to finish it.”

“Yeah, well, he agreed that if he bought it, he would read it cover to cover.”


“Yes, but some books get stuck in the middle and I get bored and stop reading them.”

“Yes, but you are going to choose one that doesn’t creep in the middle.”


“Yes, but what if I lose it?”

“You are not going to lose it.”


I gave him a shout of encouragement, like the ones athletic coaches use to cheer on their teams and have a winning mentality. “But you’re going to read it!” I screamed. “Repeat after me, I’m going to read it. Until the end!” As I screamed, I hit the armrest between us.

Say it with me, “I’m going to read it!”

Don hesitated, then said quietly. “I’m going to read it.”

“NO!” Said. “I’M GOING TO READ IT!” I hit the armrest.

“I’M GOING TO READ IT!” the Scream.

I parked in a parking space in front of the bookstore and we jumped out of the car. Well I should say Hears I jumped out of the car and struggled to get out accompanied by lots of creaking joints and verbal groans.

The sign on the door of the bookstore read: “Closed on Sundays.” We both looked at him, speechless.

I turned to Don, watching the determined look of relief in his eyes. “Well,” I said, “we could go to the library and check out a book.” I could see immediately that the idea was not going to work.

“Yes, said Don,” but what if I lose it? What if I lose it and then you will have to pay to replace it and then I will owe you money? “

“Yes,” I said jokingly, “you will have to wash my car for the rest of your life.” I immediately saw that that joke was a mistake as the anxiety in his eyes increased.

Neither of us thought this was a very good solution and it just added agony to the notion that Don was actually reading a book. So we went home.

Where Don happily resumed his training as a WOW monk in Pandaria, having experienced a merciful respite from the terrible task of reading a book.

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