Saturday, June 19, 2010

Torture Reading

In that last post I was doing my usual bloggity-blog babbling about the “TIAA CREF Important Notice Regarding Availability of Proxy Materials for the Participant Meeting to be held on July 20, 2010” which I found to be fascinating. I read damn near everything TIAA CREF sends me. I don’t do this with other financial shit. They keep suggesting that I should just read all the crap they send me on online. I should, but I enjoy reading it fresh out of the envelope on that weird thin crinkly “financial” paper. I do. It’s a weird thing. I derive some sick pleasure from it. I always find some interesting nugget of information in there. Or sometimes I just marvel at how baffled I am by financialese and wonder what the hell they are trying to convey to me. It also makes me fantasize about retirement. It just entertains me.

But I should not enjoy reading that whack shit. Does anyone else have some odd little reading favorite? I don’t mean trashy stuff. I mean everybody enjoys a trashy novel and/or fluffy magazine every once in awhile. I mean stuff that would generally be considered tortuous to read. Like TIAA CREF corporate updates, ingredients lists, the fine print on credit card offers, directions for assembling furniture (well, those can be pretty funny actually), fast food packaging, paint cans, you know- stuff you should not enjoy reading- stuff that 90% of people would be like “why the motherfuck would you read that on purpose?”

I just copped to my own tortuous, yet pleasurable, reading of TIAA CREF financial statements. I will also admit to reading those horrendous “book club” questions publishers sometimes put at the back of popular novels. I find them absolutely idiotic and I read them knowing they will provide no insight into the novel. What they will do is make me angry with their stupidly obvious questions. Really? That totally obvious thing was totally obviously symbolic of that other obvious thing? My word! I had no idea. Thanks “book club” for clearing that up! Honestly, I often just don’t want the book to be done yet- so I read that crap. Oh, and I like reading those ads for commemorative plates, gold coins, and back braces that show up in Parade and USA Weekend in the Sunday paper. Have you ever read those? They seem to be written for 75+ year old shut-ins with endless knickknack space and a slew of nonfunctioning body parts. I find them creepily pleasing.

Now, what about your own tortuous reading habits? For example, Arlenna (who was able to tear herself away from the latest edition of “Coffee News”) and JC confess a few here . Please share.

18 comments:

  1. I like to read the ingredients of my body wash while I shower. It's got the latin names of herbs and shit.

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  2. I read the ingredient list of every single thing I eat...and sometimes wish I didn't.

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  3. Comrade: Herbal body wash? You always struck me as a monthly hose down in the yard with lye and steel wool kinda showerer. Enjoy your lathered readings.

    Famusings: Which color dye tastes best?

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  4. One of the reds, I'm sure. I have a particular weakness for raspberry-flavored crap.

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  5. Comrade PhysioProf is a very soulful and erudite showerer.

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  6. Red it is and AAAAAAaaaaahhhhhhh! Did everybody just get a warm fuzzy from Comrade? How fucking cute is that?!

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  7. Check this shit out:

    http://www.mcsweeneys.net/links/monologues/15comicsans.html

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  8. I was thinking about this last night, and what occurred to me is that I often have a better time reading the instructions to a game than playing the actual game. When I was in middle school I read the manual for Prince of Persia over and over (it had myths and stuff!) and then spent about five minutes on the actual game, never getting out of the first room. Then in high school I had the best time ever reading through a D&D manual with the guy next to me on the bus in Australia. Needless to say, most of my actual D&D experiences have been excruciating. ("Celestriana, you are tied up upside down and don't know where you are. Everybody else, let's do a battle for two hours!") The best part of Civ games are definitely poring over the tech trees. Lately I've been trying to write a game in Inform 7, but every time I have to refer to the manual I get totally sucked in because it is so well-written and the examples are way more exciting than my story. In conclusion, I will never finish but game manuals are great.

    N.B. to PhysioProf, back off my turf, I linked Dr. No first!

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  9. See and I never read game instructions, perhaps thats why I think most games suck...but then it wouldn't ALWAYS be my turn if I knew the rules.

    (I was trying to be polite, now that I can picture Comrade all lathered up so thoughtfully reading the genus species of jojoba and shit he just seems so sensitive!)

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  10. Hmmmm. I don't know if I LIKE this as much as i feel compelled to do it, but I can't NOT read the inserts that come with medicinal items. Or the stupid miles-long pages of instructions that come from the pharmacy. So, essentially, I'm reading the same information twice. Someone please stop me!

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  11. By the by, that McSweeney's piece sounds an awful lot like what you were doing a year ago. And yours is funnier.

    I'm just sayin'.

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  12. At least you are a studious drug user/dealer.

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  13. And thanks Ink. True confession time: I read that McSweeney piece and initially thought "hey that's funny!"...then I spent about 30 minutes feeling completely envious, along the lines of "damn, I want to be in McSweeney's too!"

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  14. You should submit to McSweeneys. You're hilarious. And your writing style is right up their alley.

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  15. Cereal boxes, of course, but also the bullshit on the side of the carton of soy milk. The ads for build-your-own gazebo kits and get-your-license-to-perform-marriages at the back of every magazine. And, recently, I caught myself reading -- as compared to just using -- actually reading the MLA Handbook. Pathetic.

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