Addicted...Ignoring a Warning From Wolf
By ice rivers
In my first years of teaching, I was always suspected to be "some kind of nut" because of the length of my hair.
Apparently, I didn't "look"like a teacher.
I look back at pictures of my hair in those days and am amazed at how short it actually was. Perhaps the problem was that it covered my ears.
This was about the time when most middle class white folks truly believed that marijuana immediately prouced reefer madness.
One day, I was in the coven known as the teacher's lounge when I was surrounded by a conversation about the evils of weed. Then, into the conversation burst a ray of light. One of the vice principals, a tall mouse studying to be a rat named Wolf, entered the room. The coven, afraid that an authority figure might have heard them talking about "drugs", immediately clammed up. Somehow, Wolfe correctly translated the silence and asked if he had interrupted a "conversation". One of his minions, petrified that she might be "covering up", admitted that the conversation was about "marijuana and it's addictive effects"
Wolf seemed pleased to be included in such a frank discussion. In a most reassuring yet dismissive and accusatory voice, Wolf said "I don't know what the effects are because I've never tried it.......why don't we ask Mr. Rivers?"
Wolf seemed to understand that I was almost as alien to the poison of the teacher's lounge as he was. I hadn't said a word during the whole discussiion other than a few cryptic nods.
All of a sudden, all eyes were on me. I clearly remember my answer to this day. "Well" I said "I imagine it's a lot like reading."
Although I didn't consider anyone in the room to be much of a reader, I could tell they held reading in the sacred contempt that many non-readers do, especially Wolf who made some kind of sound, turned his back and left the room.
I wish I had paid more attention to my own words because my reading addiction was at the stage where I might have been able to do something about it, having recently escaped from college.
Instead it kept growing. It would eventually cost me thousands of dollars, my first marriage, dozens of friends, and led me into the company of shady characters who fed my habit with wild eyed enthusiasm.
I had to have it.
I realized the problem started when I was a child.
Both my mother and my father had shown symptoms. Not only did they fail to discourage me, they enabled me.
I almost kicked the habit when I went to college. Somehow I lost my desire as the habit was foisted upon me by professors for whom I had little respect. I didn't want to be dragged into their world.
I'm deciding to come clean today after another night of revelry and fifty years of increasing intake As usual, I was up until all hours of the morning, indulging myself. I rarely sleep with my wife anymore as she tries to put reading limitations on me. I don't blame her for doing so but I can't resist.
A few years ago, someone suggested that perhaps if I started writing about my experience, perhaps it would lessen my dependence.
Now my writing has only intensified the problem.
The addiction is reading.
Yesterday, I did something unusual. I started reading my writing. This exercise energized the problem to another dimension. I spent most of last night in a half sleep trying to figure out what I meant by my own writing.
I started editing in my mind.
That's when I knew I had to come clean. My mind started to formulate the confessional words that I am writing now, which you must be reading if you've come this far. As a matter of fact, I'm reading them myself and will continue to read them a couple of more times as I in Sysyiphisean mode, attempt to edit them.
Then it's back down to the cellar where I will continue reading free samples from Kindle, wishing I had the money to buy all these samples that interest me and knowing that the only way I can afford them is if I win some kind of writing contest in which I might use this "composition" as my entry but probably won't because it's too metaphysictional to understand and might not match the taste of the judges in the contest.
Then I'll go to the library and see what I can get for free but I'm having trouble at the library because they say I didn't return a book that I know I returned because I don't have it in my house even though I've torn the house apart several times to the horror of my wife.
The missing book is "Metamorphosis, The Hunger Artist and more stories from Kafka"
I know I returned it.
They can't keep fining me forever can they?
I'm innocent but I'm trapped.
What if I can't use the library anymore?
I'll have to win a contest.
I can no longer separate myself from my addiction.
I am what I read
And so are you
Be very careful, if it's not already too late.