DATE: 6/27/2002 12:56:00 AM
Do you have a problem with books? Only you can answer that question for yourself. However, taking the following quiz may help to put your relationship to books in perspective for you. If you end up answering "yes" to three or more questions, you may want to take a good look how your life is affected by books.
Have you missed classes or work because of books?
Do you have trouble refusing books?
Do you need books in order to have fun at a party?
Do you use books to build up your self-confidence?
Do you use books to help you relax?
Have you tried to give up books and failed?
Do you crave books as soon as you wake up?
Do you get into trouble because of books?
Do you crave books at a definite time daily?
Do you lie to others about how often you partake in books?
Have you gotten into financial difficulties because of books?
Do you often wish people would just mind their own business about you and books?
Remember, there are people who can help you control books, instead of books controlling you.
(special thanks to Brunching Shuttlecocks, "Blank Anonymous")
Yes, friends, I've begun to read compulsively. I've begun to buy more books than I can afford. I've begun to hide my book purchases, guilty at how much I've spent. I've begun to buy and check out from the library more books than I can probably ever realistically read, and I'm still buying them and checking them out.
One of the many ways I'm feeding my addiction right now is by devouring the existential masterpiece Choke by Chuck Palahniuk of Fight Club fame. There's a character in it, Denny, who begins to compulsively collect rocks as a means of recovering from compulsive masturbation. Getting his rocks on, so to speak, rather than vice versa. I've been reminding myself of poor Denny almost every day this week, as Borders Books-Music-Cafe in Nashua has become for me what the local Irish pub is for the hard-bitten alcoholic: I can't stay away from it. Every single day I've found myself in there, robotically buying another book. Books are now standing two rows deep in my bookshelves in my bedroom. They are piled on every horizontal surface; they are in teetering stacks as tall as a toddler on the floor; they are sitting in large Xerox paper boxes I don't have room for either. And yet still, every day since my Globe co-op ended, my way of coping has been to drive, zombie-like, up the Daniel Webster Highway, and spend the better part of the day reading through a dozen books in the cafe over several coffees or fountain sodas the cafe workers give me for a quarter because I used to be an employee myself, and then buying at least three. It gives the experience of reading Choke this nice meta-narrative aspect, but that is entirely beside the point.
Standing squarely on the point is this: why is it that I have this uncanny ability to make any activity, no matter how otherwise wholesome or beneficial, into a guilt-ridden, addictive process? Can somebody tackle that one for me? Let me know. As Palahniuk is wont to say, have me paged.