1. Look at and comprehend the meaning of (written or printed matter) by interpreting the characters or symbols of which it is composed. – Oxford Dictionaries1
2. Look at and comprehend the absolute wrong meaning of (printed material online) by scrolling down too quickly. – The Nut
My mother taught me to read when I was three. She claimed that as a former teacher she knew the importance of getting an early start, but I think she secretly just wanted to give me something to do so I wouldn’t keep following her into the bathroom anymore.
And it worked. While my mother reveled in the blissful experience of finally being able to use the toilet again without being stared at by a toddler, I would sit happily out in the hallway, reading aloud to the dog.
I don’t know how the dog felt about the whole arrangement, but she never got up and left in disgust so I guess hearing the 180th retelling of Frog and Toad Together couldn’t have been too objectionable.
In no time at all, I was an addict. I wore out two library cards borrowing every book I could get my hands on. Basically I was just in a big damn hurry to read everything that ever existed.
Then came the advent of the internet and the infinite scroll, and suddenly I was such a hurry, I apparently didn’t even have time to read what was actually written on the page anymore.
I mean, there’s a lot of internet out there, guys. And people are making more of it as we speak. Hell, I’m making more internet just by typing these words. Mind blown.
Now, obviously I will never have enough time to read the whole internet, especially taking into account the bullshit of being an adult and having to go to work for eight hours a day so I can pay for more internet I won’t have time to read. So to cope with this minor setback, I did the logical thing and started skimming, glossing over all the uninteresting filler material and just fishing out the good bits.
Only, sometimes I’m too good with the skimming and not so great with the fishing. In short, I’ve become the ultimate net-surfing double-taker.
I’ll be checking out the local news, minding my own business and suddenly wait wait WAIT, BACK IT THE HELL UP. Did I seriously just see an article titled “Raping Regulations Stifle Free Speech”?! *scroll scroll scroll* Oh thank god, it says “vaping”, not “raping”. At least that’s just stupid instead of horrifying.
This behavioral pattern comes out to play a lot on Twitter. 140 characters offers a surprising amount of leeway for gross misunderstandings. On a quick skim just the other day, I misread Daily Planet’s tweet “Raptors’ @Cory_Joe wants to know if he could play basketball on Mars” as “raptors want to know if they could play basketball on Mars” and I was like, “Well, they figured out how to open doors; I don’t see that Martian basketball would take too long to master for a group of clever girls…”
Imagine my dismay when I went back for a second look and discovered that Air Bud: Dino Dribble was not, in fact, the topic at hand, and that the tweet was just about a lousy human.
Things are even worse on Tumblr, where all bets are off because more often than not that weird thing you think you couldn’t possibly have read really does turn out to be that weird thing. Because Tumblr.
Which is why I was actually somewhat surprised that I am not, in fact, being followed by accounts such as “My Dinosaur Runway” (I would absolutely watch that fashion show), “Am In Lava” (I’m sorry to hear that, it must be hot in there but I don’t think I can help you) and “Six Hands Chop” (um, you just stand over there and keep your cleavers to yourself, please), but rather “mydinosaurrunaway”, “aminalavida”, and “sixhandedshop”.
I’m sure my mother wouldn’t be terribly thrilled to learn of the turn my literacy’s taken, but honestly I’m kind of tickled by it. I mean, of all the possible ways in which to be a bit of an idiot, at least I’ve opted for one that gives me the occasional laugh. And I think we could all use a few more of those (occasional laughs, not ways to be an idiot).
But I’ll never forgive Daily Planet for putting the wrong raptors on Mars.
Today’s blog post was brought to you by the letter R, the number 18, and the Dafuq Did I Just Read Challenge, AKA the Blogging A to Z Challenge.
1 “read.” OxfordDictionaries.com. Oxford Dictionaries, 2016. Web. 21 April 2016.