Monday, January 23, 2012

What Paolo Read: And they honored me far beyond courtesy, for they included me in their own number

So before the new year I talked my friend into joining the Classics Challenge. The problem? He doesn't have a blog. But he still wanted to play along so I offered up some blog space here. Now I'll let him introduce himself with his first post! Enjoy 

1 in 59 thousand. Those are the odds of two people playing Rock, Paper, Scissors to ten straight ties before giving up in (good-humored) annoyance. That's what hapened to Red and I one fateful night, in the back of our friend's car, en route to some delicious Inman Square eatery. (Probably S&S.) She and I would often joke over the years that we share a brain, but it was rare to see it taunt us so blatantly.

Red has done a lovely thing by letting me share her space, I figure it's about time to introduce the other voice that you're going to be reading over the next 12 months. We went to college together, and bonded over a shared love of Mario Kart[1], Kurt Vonnegut, and third-wave ska. Clearly, we were a match destined for Blogosphere[2] superstardom.

I'm not quite sure I fit the mold of the typical book blogger. I might even push the limits of the atypical book blogger. I teach high school mathematics. I'm writing parts of this as I ride the bus to an away game for the hockey team I coach.

Still, I feel up to this. I have always buried myself in books. My mother swears she's one of the only parents who had to tell her son not to read. Even back in elementary school, I'd spend every moment I could reading. I'd run the shower, then sit on the bath mat and steal another chapter or four. I would stay up well past my bedtime, first reading under the covers with a flashlight, and then—once all the flashlights in the house had been confiscated—I put a towel under the door to hide the overhead light. I became an expert at closing my eyes just enough to be able to see through my eyelashes yet have them convincingly appear closed[3]. Even in fourth grade I would regularly be up past midnight reading[4].

I still love to read, but usually feel like I don't have the time to do so. Between teaching, coaching, getting married, grad school, fixing up the house, and watching Arrested Development for the 15th time, I find too many excuses not to read. I let myself be talked into this challenge to combat that.

I'm currently on the 8th Canto of Inferno[5]. This is going to be a trip.

[1] I'm better at the SNES original, and she whoops me at Mario Kart 64. Any other version hardly bears mentioning.
[2] As I write this out, my iPhone helpfully autocompleted Blogosphere for me. iPhone, I am judging you. Harshly.
[3] Fun trick: do this while you're driving with your wife in the passenger seat! (Hint: Put a pillow and blanket on the couch first to save time later!)
[4] With a short break to listen to Loveline on my headphones.
[5] Due in no small part to someone insisting I read the new Stephen King book.

Title quote from Inferno, Canto IV, 100-101