19 November 2008

Bookworm Junior

When I was a little kid, my parents called me a bookworm. I was always sitting around reading something. Some members of the family still talk about the time I read The Autobiography of Malcolm X when I was around 9. What can I say? It looked more interesting than the rest of the books on Aunt Maude and Uncle Farrington's bookshelf. (I remember asking my father what "rape" was. He answered in rather vague terms, as I recall.)

Eventually "bookworm" ceased to be sufficiently descriptive and my parents started calling me "the Reading Monster."

So I've been watching The Offspring's forays into reading with interest, to say the least. In the last few days, he's begun picking up books and... reading them! I watch this with pride and joy, but also with a little trepidation. How much longer will he let me read to him?

And then, this: Yesterday he was complaining of itching in a personal place and I went to google to find out what to do and as I was scrolling down skimming one of the sites he said, "Wait! Go back to where it says 'When To Call The Doctor.'"


Obviously, I need to start being a little more careful about what I read when he's around. We've long since stopped listening to the radio, to avoid inundating him with reports of dead girlfriends and hijacked taxicabs and whatever else passes for "news" in between the weather and traffic reports on 1010WINS. (We don't have television, so that was never an issue.)

Do I have to cancel my subscription to Mother Jones? Stop reading news sites when he's in the house? Put a blindfold on him when we ride the A train so he can't read the ads?

The visual landscape of advertising in Manhattan, with eye-catching images all over the buses and subways, is about to become, for him, a textual environment. I don't know if I'm ready to answer all of the questions that are sure to ensue.