Let’s head back in time to attend a formative literary event in the annals of writing.
It was a birthday party for me, but whether I actually “attended” it is up for debate. You see, I was three years old.
It’s not that I didn’t understand the concept of a birthday party at that age . . . believe me, I was all for it.
So, there I was, seated on a chair. Whatever preceded my sitting down, I don’t recall, nor do I remember what followed after I got . . . The Best Present of All Time.
Before I got it, though, all the other little boys and little girls were standing in a semicircle around me. Mom handed me the first present to open.
A great shock
I tore off the gaily decorated party paper, pulled up the box top and there it was: underwear. UNDERWEAR! Are you kidding me? As a birthday present for a little boy?
Then some girl attendee said it was her idea. Oh, yeah, she was a future mom in training, because that’s what moms do. They give guys what they need.
But we don’t want what we need. We want what we don’t need. Why do moms — and later on, wives — do that?
Obviously, that was not the best present of all time. It was the worst, most embarrassing present of all time.
The best present of all time came next thanks to some other kid’s mom. That mom actually had a clue — in fact, she had more than a clue, she was GENIUS LEVEL.
The big birthday reveal
I took that present and removed its wrapping paper to reveal: Ten Comic Books. Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse and more.
I had never seen a comic book before then. I opened the first one and was immediately entranced. Cartoon pictures. In color. I studied every panel. Intently. Page after page.
You see, these were not the lame-format comics of later years that had only 32 or so pages with a number of them containing ads for joy buzzers, blackhead removers, sneezing powder, throwing one’s voice, and the like.
No, no, no. These gorgeous babies were a full 52 pages for 10 cents. Ten comics for a buck! And nary an ad in them!
I forgot all about the party. It came to a standstill. My guests were pissed, hopping from foot to foot in exasperation.
They didn’t give a rat’s . . .
. . . about the comics. They wanted to see what the other presents were. Too bad, I was in another world, and they weren’t.
So what happened to the party?
Mom couldn’t get me to stop looking at the comics. Since I was in another dimension, she gave all the other kids permission to open my presents.
I spotted them doing it out of my peripheral vision, but I didn’t care. And I didn’t care what the presents were.
I was reading 520 fabulously entrancing pages. In other words, I was reading before I could read.
That was the beginning of my love for books and the words in them.
I’ve been working with words all my life, and now it’s time to use them to create books of my own.
NEXT: “I Get Run Off the Ranch”
QUESTION: How has your reading habit ticked off other people?