Anyhow, I was young, and pudgy, asthmatic and fairly anti-social. But, we had a small library at school that I didn't need someone else's library card to check books out. (I didn't know that I could have gotten a child's card then. No-one explained it to me, and I was too scared of the old lady running the desk who kept telling me that I owed the library 70 cents for a book that I'd never once read to ask her.) So, being as I knew very few people at the school (I'd moved there, and everyone had known each other from pre-school) I spent a lot of time there. First, I read everything that interested me (Hardy Boys Mysteries, by Frank W. Dixon, whom I later found out, much like most children find out about Santa Claus, never existed, but was a shared nom de plume of any number of authors who were paid not very handsomely for their work.*) then, I started on other stuff. Just poked around, found things like Michael Chricton, Steven King, Pre-Algebra for Youngsters, Backyard Ballistics, and things like that. I attended El Granada Elementary from the second grade, through the third grade, and a week into the fourth. But, it was two months from the end of the third grade that I had a problem. I'd read it all. I'd seriously read everything there (with the exception of the old edition of the Encyclopedia Americana, and the gigantic Merriam-Webster Unabridged Collegiate Dictionary). Every bad mystery, every Sweet Valley High (what can I say, I've always been a fast reader, and I was *BORED*). And every..well, book in that library. I actually broke down and cried right there on the floor right in front of the half dozen large recipe boxes that made up the card catalog. Not because of the fact that I was sad that I would now be bored, but because now I wouldn't have my World of Else to escape to when I had to shit in a plastic tub full of sand because I lived in a storage unit, or when my father would come home only to toss some Chinese food down on the table, make sure there was food, then dash off to school. Or when the kids at school would taunt me for daring to be different from them for how I dressed, what I ate, that I couldn't, or wouldn't, play with them. Or when the teachers would berate me for not paying attention, because they were explaining how 2+4-1=5 for the ninth time, and I was trying to figure out WHY where 3+x=5 x=2. No, now I was going to have to figure out how I was gonna live in the world of those people who either didn't understand me, or didn't want to expend the effort to do so. Lucky for me, I was able to get by. I convinced my father that I wanted books, and he'd buy them for me (he once brought home a box of books from a yard sale where he'd paid a dollar for the entire box. I tried reading all of them). And, once school was out for the summer, I was in the "Summer Program" where the cliques weren't completely formed, and I was able to get by. I also got introduced to D&D somewhere around here, getting totally enraptured in the fact that not only was this a World of Else that I could be in, but there were *OTHER* people there too! And, it didn't *end*! And (most importantly) I had control over it, too! And then, I moved, and things got both better and worse. But that's another story.
In other news, I'm out of stuff to read. Need to grab an armful from work tomorrow.
* Off-Topic, but funny. Best Nom De Plume ever: Karen Jay Moaning. She's an author of your classic bodice ripper.