The Mercantile’s Guide to Unpleasant Reading

The sad truth is that even here and now, in the modern-day modern world, humanity still has its problems and unpleasantries.  Hard to believe, it’s true, but for example, right now I am stuck reading a book that I really, really dislike.  I know this sounds ridiculous.  Why would he keep reading something he hates, especially there being so many enjoyable things to read?  Short answer: I’m getting paid to do it.  Long answer.  Nowhere near enough.  Even beyond my own limited experience, I’ve heard of other people in similar situations.  The lawyer poring over the contract that has just been written up but that no one has actually read yet and he, the poor reading lawyer drew the short straw so while the other lawyers are off to the pub, he’s stuck going over this mind-numbing legalese.   Then there are the True American Heros–school teachers–nightly dragging their weary eyes over page after page of lackluster academic scrawl.   Being the area’s preeminent  Literary Research Center, it has come to our attention that this modern epidemic of unenjoyable reading is clearly a problem the reading public needs to be solved, possibly through a massive injection of grant funding.  While our funding has yet to come through, we have directed some of our not entirely unformidable brainpower at the problem and already, as you will see, it his begun to shrivel like a tumor exposed to radiation’s healthful rays.

Don’t actually read that stuff.  Our clinical trials have demonstrated that this is the most effective method for avoiding reading something you don’t want to read–up to 98% effective.  The only negative side effect being that you might have to fake having read something you didn’t, which can be more laborious than actually reading the loathsome material in the first place.  The formula to use here is simple.  If U>F/2, where U=undesirable reading material and F=faking it (divided by 2) then choose another avoidance pattern.

Speed Reading. This is pretty close to not actually reading something.  Simply force your eyes to dart from left to right (unless you’re reading Hebrew, Chinese or some other script), until you get to the end.  There!  You Read it!  Sure you did!  A number of excellent speed reading manuals exist.  My dad gave me one when I left for college.  I don’t remember the title, but it was obviously way too boring to read.  It definitely increased my reading speed though.  Totally!

Day Dream While You Read. You’re on a white sand beach before a sapphire lagoon.  A faint breeze caresses the palm fronds.  “Can I get you another Pina Colada, sir?”  You open your eyes.  There stands Henrick Ibsen, sweating uncontrollably from his lamb-chops.  Tell him to go to hell with his moralizing Scandinavian dramas, but–ah ah ah!–not before delivering that promised Pina Colada.  The whole problem with reading is that this technique really doesn’t work.  It’s kind of like not reading but takes a certain amount of concentration.

Watch TV Instead. See above.

Pay a Voice Actor to Record the Undesirable Reading Material for Playback Later While You are at the Gym. Because our grant funding has yet to come through, we were unable to pay for a voice actor.  We theorize that an undesirable side effect of this will be that you will find yourself listening to some pretty boring reading, which, unless you hit pause a lot, will just keep droning on incessantly, boring your pants off.  Note to selves: ask voice actor to read material in an Exciting!  Brio-Inflected!  Voice!

Just Read it but Quickly and Don’t Stop and Think about it. We can’t actually condone this method as it is both unpleasant and potentially dangerous.  Eyestrain is, after all, the number one dangerous killer nationwide, beating out almost 2-1 texting while driving (which we needn’t point out combines two dangerous activities: boring reading and driving), attempting to befriend bull elephants while they are in “Musth”, and drinking fortified Scottish wines.

So there you have it…  we’ll let you know when that grant funding comes through and we make further inroads into the eradication of this malaise.  In the meantime, read carefully and well.

-Ed Scripsi

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Published in: on June 16, 2010 at 4:20 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] The Mercantile’s Guide to Unpleasant Reading « Stacked […]

  2. […] and articles about this book.  Don’t bother buying the whole thing.  Which gets me to this post from the Mercantile Library’s blog–Stacked. It’s about a topic I have mused about […]


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