So, I'm going to start writing more blogs as requested. But I lack ideas. For now, I'll just recount a 'mission' given to me by John Green.
Back story (trust me, it's much more interesting this way):
John signed three copies of Paper Towns
for me in Columbus, two of which I mailed
to my closest Ning friends - Christian the Heretic
- and one I kept for myself. Now, I treasured my beautiful book, making it comfortable when it was lonely, giving it a lovely bookmark as a companion, and sometimes taking it off the shelf and petting it just so it would feel loved.
However, I wanted the words John had written to be read, not just by me, but THE WORLD! But then again, the world is an awfully big place and I'm not wealthy enough to supply the entire population with their own copy. I wish.... However, there are two special people that I felt might benefit from reading Paper Towns
, my niece and nephew. Carmen, 15, read the book in record time and returned it with a look of awe. Being a Nerdfighter herself, she loved it.
I couldn't help but feel that Nick, 13, would benefit more from the book. He's in a state of mind where popularity is everything but he's one of the not-so-popular kids. And he's quick to judge people without realizing that people are often misimagined. He's not fond of reading, but with my enthusiastic review and Carmen's positive feedback, he decided to give Paper Towns
a try. So, I allowed him to use my precious book, setting down specific guidelines - we'll call these Laws - to follow when handling the book. Within two days, he got through half of Paper Towns
, which is pretty fast where his attention span is concerned. He was really enjoying it, pausing a few times to discuss or ask about something.
Things were going well, but school distracted him and he was reading less and less everyday. Finally, I noticed that he wasn't reading at all in his spare time. Not that I was pushing him to read, I was only worried about my darling book. So, I asked to see it.
He handed me the book.
It was ruined.
I mean, I was really upset. I specifically told him how much that book meant to me. I felt betrayed and wanted to cry. Or get violent. Luckily, I did neither. Okay, it's not as extreme as I make it out to be. There is water damage from when it rained and he had it in his backpack, but all the pages are still legible. Nevertheless, as it was signed by the author......You understand, right?
I was upset with him for quite awhile, and even though I love him to pieces, I still couldn't forgive him.
Whenever John asks for questions, I always fail to come up with anything interesting or relevant. [Except for the sock question! I almost made John fall over, and injure his hand and laptop, just so he could tell me the color his socks. Ah, good times....] But today during his live show, I came up with a pretty good question for my problem.
"My nephew ruined my signed copy of Paper Towns
. What should be his punishment?? And will you sign another for me?"
John answered, "I will definitely sign you another copy the next time I see you, and his punishment should be: He has to read Finnegans Wake out loud
I immediately ran - okay, skipped - to Nick and dragged him to the computer where I explained what was going on. Then I told him, "John - you remember John, right? The author of that book you ruined... - gave you a punishment. You know, for ruining his book."
For his benefit, I googled the title. Right under the Wikipedia listing for it, was an Amazon review that caught his eye: "It took me five years to read finnegans wake, on and off. It is probably the hardest book to read in the English language...."
Nick almost pissed his pants.
Moral of this story: Never mess with my books. It won't end pretty.