Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The daily grind

So, I'm making coffee this morning, and unbeknownst to me, the filter has folded over. I am soon reminded of a childhood reading memory. How so? Well, there's an old Peanuts strip where Linus, I think, gets hot chocolate and describes it as being more like water with a brown crayon dipped in. That's what I ended up with in the coffee maker.

Fixable coffee fiasco aside, it was a fun flashback. The truth is, I learned to read because of Peanuts. I really LOVED the books we had, and I couldn't wait to finish one so I could go on to the next. But I wanted to get the jokes, to follow the characters I loved. I guess this helps explain why I can't understand the occasional conflicts that pop up about things like Captain Underpants or graphic novels or manga and whether or not kids should be reading them instead of... well, instead of what is never the argument, is it? Why reading should ever be a daily grind for kids is beyond me. Life, in the form of coffee maker fiascos and variants, is enough of a grind, even for the younger set.

Now, I gotta book, but I leave you with a Peanuts line I still use from time to time lo these decades later. Charlie Brown looks at an uncomfortable Linus and wonders what's wrong. Sayeth Linus, "I'm aware of my tongue." You try finding that feeling phrased better in any work of literature for any age. Betcha can't.


Nancy said...

I'm aware of my tongue.... PERFECT!

Anonymous said...

Greg - as a former homeschooling mom, you've expressed my thoughts on this subject amazingly well. Both of my boys were late readers and both as teenagers read more, and more broadly, than almost anyone I know. They read what they wanted to read, mostly when they wanted to read it. That's not to say that we didn't work on reading, but that it was fine with me when the "Marvel Essentials" were what one strove to understand while the other son only wanted to be able to play Civilization on the computer. Word games were inspired by none other than Jack Prelutsky, whose "Dragons are Singing Tonight" is still a standard kid present for us.