Readers Anonymous, anyone?
I have often been described as a voracious reader -- a word I have put in italics because I have heard so many people use it in this context that I suppose one and all would agree that it fits me like a plug. I am seldom without a book in hand or within easy reach, and in fact I have one about 6 inches away from my computer keyboard as I go about the day's blogging. Thus afflicted with a major, lifelong case of bibliophilia, I can naturally empathize with others who likewise suffer -- if, indeed, afflicted and suffer are the appropriate words to use here. Perhaps there should be a support group called Readers Anonymous, based on the famous 12-step recovery program; but of course, we all know it would end up being a literary club instead, with members meeting every week or so to discuss War and Peace or the latest offering from Oprah's Book Club.
I found a kindred spirit this morning in the author of this article. It brings back some fond memories of reading to my two children when they were very young. In fact, the very first thing I ever read to my son Colin, who is now 16, was a Sports Illustrated article about Dodger pitcher Orel Hershiser, who had just won the National League Cy Young Award for his pivotal role in the Dodgers' 1988 World Series victory. Colin was all of two weeks old at the time. Later he developed a preference for such bedtime fare as a book called Baby Farm Animals, although it is perhaps not entirely coincidental that he also became a baseball fan. With Vanessa, who just turned 11, I had a bit less luck. When she was very young, the only book she ever wanted me to read to her was a Spanish-language version of The Little Red Hen, which fascinated her even though she could not understand a word of it. (I think she always wondered why Mommy was unable to read it to her, even though Daddy could.) Later she enjoyed my various renditions of The Three Little Kittens. Her favorite version was the one in which I had the kittens weeping and wailing and gnashing their teeth as they confess having lost their mittens, to which their mother reacts with snarls and roars as she pronounces the dread sentence, to-wit, that they shall have no pie. In other versions of this tale, I had the mother cat talking like an old geezer, or like Bruce R. McConkie; and in still another, I had the kittens sounding like Richard Nixon. Of course, I could always mix up the voices, and often did so; and my favorite trick was to do Nixon or the geezer when Vanessa wanted instead to hear the kittens cry.
So, enjoy this piece, and then go read to some child, whether it be yours or someone else's. Incidentally, one day last year Sheila and I speculated about what the Divine Comedy might have been like if Dr. Seuss had written it instead of Dante. I'd love to flesh this out when I have some idle time, but one verse might go something like this:
"One circle, two circles, three circles, four --
My goodness, my gracious, could there be more?"