The Curse of Illiteracy
I have come to a realization and a complete understanding. As has already been pointed out, I am illiterate. I read one book or less a year, and by the popular definition that means I can't read at all. I would like to read, I really would, but sadly not even RIF can help me.
It has nothing to do with mental capacity, it was in my second year of third grade they figured out that I was dyslexic and developed methods to allow me to translate giberish into English. Now anything written in the Roman alphabet gets filtered automatically in my brain into English. French, Spanish, all of those written languages get processed through the same filter. If at the other end of the filter, I still can't get meaning from what I am seeing, I get an error message in the form of good old fashioned lizard brained fight or flight response. Thus, interpretitors like those that work at the UN hold superhero status to me. Foreign language classes cause tramatic stress.
At any rate, I can overcome the defects but I can't defeat the curse of illiteracy. I have only just now identified it as a curse, and I know it is older than I am. I have no idea how far back it goes. My grandfather couldn't read, my father who seems to be able to repair anything man can create has never read anything more than newspapers my whole life. At first I thought it was just me, but based on family history I think it goes farther back.
For me the curse works like this. If I attempt to read a book, everyone around me sees instead of me sitting look at a book, they see me sitting with empty hands looking at them waiting with interest to enguage them in conversation. When I was younger, any time I had a book in my hand and my mother was around she would immediately start talking to me. She would not stop. I thought all that time she was just being rude. I had no idea she literally couldn't see me trying to read.
It didn't occure to me when I was in college and no one could seem to tell I was trying to read. It didn't occure to me with the various girlfriends who always managed to get chatty whenever I had a book in my hand. It didn't acutally occure to me until last night as I was sitting on the couch trying to read Radical Evolution. I no longer blame my mother, friends, and ex-girlfriends because my wife helped me to see what was really going on. The good news is the curse only seems to work on actual books. I can read online all day with no unexpected problems. All I have to do is get one of those reader things and read electronic books. I still wouldn't be literate according to the National Endowment for the Arts but why should I care what they think. Infact I think I'm going to add them to the generic threat of bodily harm list. I'd better make it an electronic list, else I won't ever be able to read it.