Because I care...

I want you all to consider this.

Once a relatively rare disorder, Literature Abuse, or LA, has risen to new levels due to the accessibility of higher education and increased college enrollment since the end of the Second World War. The number of literature abusers is currently at record levels.

Abusers become withdrawn, uninterested in society or normal relationships. They fantasize, creating alternative worlds to occupy, to the neglect of friends and family. In severe cases they develop bad posture from reading in awkward positions or carrying heavy book bags. In the worst instances, they become cranky reference librarians in small towns.

Excessive reading during pregnancy is perhaps the number one cause of moral deformity among the children of English professors, teachers of English and creative writing. Known as Fetal Fiction Syndrome, this disease also leaves its victims prone to a lifetime of nearsightedness, daydreaming and emotional instability.

It has been established that heredity plays a considerable role in determining whether a person will become an abuser of literature. Most abusers have at least one parent who abused literature, often beginning at an early age and progressing into adulthood. Many spouses of an abuser become abusers themselves.

Fathers or mothers who are English teachers, professors, or heavy fiction readers; parents who do not encourage children to play games, participate in healthy sports, or watch television in the evening.

Pre-marital screening and counseling, referral to adoption agencies in order to break the chain of abuse. English teachers in particular should seek partners active in other fields. Children should be encouraged to seek physical activity, and to avoid isolation and morbid introspection.

Self-test for literature abuse
How many of these apply to you?

  1. I have read fiction when I was depressed, or to cheer myself up.
  2. I have gone on reading binges of an entire book or more in a day.
  3. I read rapidly, often ‘gulping’ chapters.
  4. I have sometimes read early in the morning, or before work.
  5. I have hidden books in different places to sneak a chapter without being seen.
  6. Sometimes I avoid friends or family obligations in order to read novels.
  7. Sometimes I re-write film or television dialog as the characters speak.
  8. I am unable to enjoy myself with others unless there is a book nearby.
  9. At a party, I will often slip off unnoticed to read.
  10. Reading has made me seek haunts and companions which I would otherwise avoid.
  11. I have neglected personal hygiene or household chores until I had finished a novel.
  12. I have spent money meant for necessities on books instead.
  13. I have attempted to check out more library books than permitted.
  14. Most of my friends are heavy fiction readers.
  15. I have sometimes passed out from a night of heavy reading.
  16. I have suffered ‘blackouts’ or memory loss from a bout of reading.
  17. I have wept, become angry or irrational because of something I read.
  18. I have sometimes wished I did not read so much.
  19. Sometimes I think my fiction reading is out of control.

If you answered ‘yes’ to three or more of these questions, you may be a literature abuser. Affirmative responses to five or more indicates a serious problem.

Within the sordid world of literature abuse, the lowest circle belongs to those sufferers who have thrown their lives and hopes away to study literature in our colleges. Parents should look for signs that their children are taking the wrong path-don’t expect your teenager to approach you and say, ‘I can’t stop reading Spencer.’ By the time you visit her dorm room and find the secret stash of the Paris Review, it may already be too late.

What to do if you suspect your child is becoming an English major:

  1. Talk to your child in a loving way. Show your concern. Let her know you won’t abandon her- but that you aren’t spending a hundred grand to put her through Stanford so she can clerk at Waldenbooks, either. But remember that she may not be able to make a decision without help; perhaps she has just finished Madame Bovary and is dying of arsenic poisoning.

  2. Face the issue: Tell her what you know, and how: ‘I found this book in your purse. How long has this been going on?’ Ask the hard question- ‘Who is this Count Vronsky?’

  3. Show her another way. Move the television set into her room. Praise her brother, the engineer. Introduce her to frat boys.

  4. Do what you have to do. Tear up her library card. Make her stop signing her letters as ‘Emma.’ Force her to take a math class, or minor in Spanish. Transfer her to a Florida college.

You may be dealing with a life-threatening problem if one or more of the
following applies:

  • She can tell you how and when Thomas Chatterton died.
  • She names one or more of her cats after a Romantic poet.
  • Next to her bed is a picture of: Lord Byron, Virginia Woolf, Faulkner, or any scene from the Lake District.

Most important, remember, you are not alone. To seek help for yourself or someone you love, contact the nearest chapter of the American Literature Abuse Society, or look under ALAS in your telephone directory.

Hmmmm, what about answering yes to 10 or more?

Should I quit reading cold turkey or ease off by reading just magazines?

Just forwarded it to my entire Shakespeare class. Thanks!

Sassy – did you write that? EXCELLENT! And you just may be an abuser yourself! :wink:

I know I am. Dead to rights all 19 counts. Well, all I can say is it’s cheaper than most drugs!


Between work, this MB, and rereading Walden, it’s been a long week.

12 of 19.

But at least I know I’m not alone.

God, I’m so pathetic.

I re-read this OP twice just to prolong the high.

I’m hocked on computers. I’m hooked on reading.

The SDMB is like a speedball to me.

You say “cheesy” like that’s a BAD thing.

I wish I could say I wrote it, but it came in a forward to me - with no name to attribute. It hit me upside the head, and I somehow knew that it would nail a few addicts here. It’s this sort of thing that leads to SDMB abuse…

It’s Been Lovely But I Have To Scream Now

Damn it! It was asking for that Alexander Pope collection for my birthday - that was the giveaway, wasn’t it?

“Books, books, books had found the secret of a garret-room piled high with cases in my father’s name; Piled high, packed large, --where, creeping in and out among the giant fossils of my past, like some small nimble mouse between the ribs of a mastodon, I nibbled here and there at this or that box, pulling through the gap, in heats of terror, haste, victorious joy, the first book first. And how I felt it beat under my pillow, in the morning’s dark. An hour before the sun would let me read! My books!”

~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning ~

Dopeler effect:
The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

I think I am in love with UncleBeer.

Please tell your pants it’s not polite to point.

17 out of 19, so I’m a hopeless literature junkie :frowning:

I did, however, stumble into one of the few professions where having been an English major is considered desirable. I am a copy editor. But that means I have to pay for my Good Books habit by spending all day reading writers who say things like “Plans are to food-drive the needy and toy the children” and fixing hyphen stacks on page proofs. It’s a cruel world.


Warning, warning, warning! Flirting hi-jack!

Good afternoon, Diane. :slight_smile:

Yet, love, mere love, is beautiful indeed
And worthy of acceptation. Fire is bright,
Let temple burn, or flax; an equal light
Leaps in the flame from cedar-plank or weed:
And love is fire. And when I say at need
I love thee . . . mark! . . . I love thee–in thy sight
I stand transfigured, glorified aright,
With conscience of the new rays that proceed
Out of my face toward thine. There’s nothing low
In love, when love the lowest: meanest creatures
Who love God, God accepts while loving so.
And what I led, across the inferior features
Of what I am, doth flash itself, and show
How that great work of Love enhances Nature’s.

~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning ~

Catrandom’s sentence about “food-drive the needy” reminded me of a rather un-literate happening on SouthPark, last year’s Thanksgiving special, I believe. The kids were having a canned food drive, and Kenny (the poor kid on the show) was selected to participate in the Food Grab. It was similar to the Cash Grab of old game shows, in the clear booth with forced air blowing $10s and $20s up off the floor, only with canned food instead. As I recall he got a can of french cut green beans.

Insert Random Witticism Here.

Forgot to add my score - guilty on 15 of the 19 counts.

Insert Additional Random Witticism Here.

A good job of near-plagarism of the comic strip Second Chances.

18 of 19 ( especially number 12 - I don’t care if I have dinner, get me that new book about King Arthur!) and I was an English Major (working at the phone company). I guess I’m done for. Can I get some sort of government aid for this?

Why are there two 3’s and no 11?

WARNING: I cannot be held responsible for the above as apparently my cat has learned to type. =^…^=

17 out of 19!

And I’m majoring in Literature!

There’s no hope for me!

Save yourselves!

See sig line

We live in an age that reads to much to be wise, and thinks too much to be beautiful–Oscar Wilde


Please tell your pants it’s not polite to point.

#18, There is no such thing as reading to much.

I have one to add: You keep a book on your person, purse, pocket or briefcase as a comfort item.