New Years Resolution (NOT!)

My husband resolved that I should take steps to overcome my reading addiction. The day after New Year’s Eve, he presented me with an enrollment form for the 12 step recovery program for a book-free New Year.

He confronted me first. He gathered the children around the couch. I didn’t notice them at first because I was on the last 15 pages of an Anne Rice novel. So they turned off the light.

“What?! What are you doing?! I’m almost finished.”

“We have to talk.” he said.

“Can’t it wait?”

“No, we have a serious problem to confront.”


“Look around you, what do you see?”

“The lights turned off.”

“No, on the floor.”

“Newspapers. Coffee cups. Kudo wrappers. Nothing unusual. It looks like the living room always looks.”

“Lets take a tour.” He dragged me from the couch and led me thru the house. “Do you know what this room is?”

“Its the dining room. Hey, that’s where my Prevention Magazine and Science News went! They’re under the newspaper stack on the table.”

He led me on just before I could grab the magazines and asked, “What’s this room?”

“I don’t know. Can’t I just finish my book?”

“This is the kitchen. You cook in it. This is the stove. This is the dishwasher! This is the refrigeration, covered with overdue book notices.”

“Is that a new recipe book under the mail?” I asked reaching for it.

“Look at your children. See their faces. Pale and wan from not being taken to the mall to play like other children.

And worse, what kind of example are you setting for them?!

Have you looked under your youngest’s bed lately? Flashlights. You know what that’s a sign of. Haven’t you seen the slight trembling of their hands when 7:30 rolls around, and they haven’t had their nightly run to THE LIBRARY? Do you know that librarians from all the surrounding towns know your children on a first name basis. Have you noticed their frantic concentration on the cereal boxes first thing in the morning, after a night of reading deprivation? Do you know how many nights I come home to utter silence, and bodies spread out all over the house. The only sound a faint… flip…flip…flip…AND”, my husband paused for dramatic effect “…Christmas morning. Yes, Christmas morning, that terrible moment when the first present passed out was books, and everyone started reading…leaving all the other presents unopened… ”

He pulled himself together.

“In short, we can’t stay in a state of denial about this. We all have a problem, and we are all enabling each other. We have to stop and face this bravely together.”

And he took my book.

It looked dark.

I cast about frantically for a plan. Then I remembered.
I headed straight for the cleaning supplies, where I had cleverly hid an unopened copy of the latest Dick Francis novel. A place where I knew no one in my house would ever find it.

“I’ll let you read it first” I said slyly “C’mon,” I coaxed, “Just one more for the road.”

In the meantime, I quietly slipped the form onto the dining room table, along with all the other mail, newspapers, and magazines from the previous year. That takes care of that, I thought. If they find it, I have a Tony Hillerman tucked inside the vacuum cleaner.

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