Hot Fudge Wednesdays By Lexie Mountain

Hot Fudge Wednesdays: Books: Why? Who Let You In Here?

Books manifest a sinister ouroboros that reinforces creativity, confidence, and curiosity

Books. Everyone thinks they are so great, but what if they are actually bad? Many common misconceptions regarding books and book-related facts exist, and today is as good as any other hazel-eyed day to have one's mind utterly cast asunder, with walls of reality crashing downward as if under the blows of an independent contractor's mighty sledge. Time to myth-bust!

Misconception 1: BOOKS ARE EASY TO HOLD IN ONE OR TWO HANDS, USING THE FINGERS TO ASSIST. OK, who started this one? Was it you, Sandra? This really seems like a "Sandra Joint." Straight out of the gate I'm outraged. What about FootBooks, the books you hold with your feet? Feet are much better at book-holding because, in the words of artist Kemang Wa Lehulere, "the foot has no nose," and is therefore not as distracted by book odor as the face is. The farther away from the eyes the book is held, the more powerful the impact of the text. Books are best read from across the room, behind a blast shield, balanced on an unemployed friend's toes. Most books are best enjoyed if you leave them alone entirely and talk about them behind their back. Many very, very, very old manuscripts can only be read once every five or 10 years, and God forbid one even think about being in the same room as an extant copy of the Gutenberg Bible. A certain Dutch Book of Hours that Shall Not be Named crumbles to powder the instant anyone even thinks about it, so don't. The Oxford English Dictionary, couch potato of books, is such a prick that it needs its own furniture, thus rendering the need for fingers, hands, or high arches obsolete. Pages of the OED are so thin that they must be turned by gentle Caribbean breezes of the zephyr type, and most spelling errors are caused by dictionary owners having it "up to here" and gesturing to indicate precisely up to where they have had it in the course of their studies.

Misconception 2: SOME BOOKS FIT INTO A POCKET. Dear American publishers Simon & Schuster: Whose pockets, I'd like to know! Definitely not my pockets, and I wear clothing with pockets sometimes. The conceit that books fit into pockets presumes that women are allowed to wear clothing with pockets, thus enabling them to carry small guns or lipsticks or tampons or prescribed medication which might then permit them to become functional members of society. Everyone knows that most women's apparel features only rudimentary pocketlike openings unable to contain any amount of anything, and the pockets on men's apparel are generally too clogged with hard old tube socks to be able to contain all but the teensiest paperback. The only pockets suitable for book-carrying are to be found on cargo shorts and photographer's vests, and with any luck both of those items will be outlawed soon enough.

Misconception 3: BOOKS ARE HEALTHY FOR THE MIND. Ha ha whaaaat! I must admit, this one makes me nervous. What if people started using books to receive and absorb ideas instead of just stacking them against the door to keep the outside world at bay? I've even heard cases in which books inspire people to—shudder—have ideas, ideas perhaps unrelated to the book itself. The book sits there and, in doing nothing but letting itself be read, transmits actual creativity from one mind (the author's) to another (the looker, known in some cultures as "the reader"). How does this happen? Should it be allowed to happen? The main problem is that inspiration provided by reading books happens every day, and there's nothing that can be done about it. Ideas are being passed from generation to generation, without supervision. Some ideas are even transmitted from invisible beings milling around in space and time. The scientific medical community, whatever that is, has the unmitigated tincture of gall to contend that books make people smarter, which cannot possibly be true. Books may even force you to know more words than you did before, and you may not realize it's happening. I think there's a word for the buildup of extra words inside the brain, but I can't brain it out right now. It's probably "palimpsest" or "biblipheme" or something equally fake. Every day, people are reading and causing more blood to rush around in their skull, right under their noses!

Let this column serve as a warning, for I am a perfect example of the effect of books on the human mind. Raised by a feral librarian and her attorney paramour, I was fed a constant stream of printed matter and allowed, even encouraged, to read myself to sleep every single night. Books are a gateway drug: Books beget further books, manifesting a sinister ouroboros that reinforces creativity, confidence, and curiosity. It is my recommendation that all books be deposited in large structures built or modified for the sole purpose of keeping literature safe behind glass and brick walls, away from water and insects and light and the public. Restricting access to individuals with special permits (even then only at certain hours of the day) should prevent injuries caused by the dangerous impulse to dive into books toes-first.

Copyright © 2019, Baltimore City Paper, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Privacy Policy