My son, Joey, as part of his education, has to read at least twenty minutes each day. Books. Ellie doesn’t yet – she’s just in first grade – but she will one day. I’d like to be told that I have to read at least twenty minutes each day. On a regular chair. “What does he mean by that?” I hear all the non-parents asking. The parents know, and I can feel them smiling and nodding. What I mean by that is on a regular chair - with cushions – not a porcelain one with a hole in the seat. If it weren’t for bathrooms, parents would never get any reading done. We can’t read when the kids are reading (I know how the non-parents think; I used to be one) because that’s when we’re cleaning up after dinner, folding laundry, checking homework, and doing all those things we don’t get to do when the kids are awake.
I know what to do – listen up, local Community Service Departments: Find an empty room in some building, and decorate it like a living room. You know; a few easy chairs, maybe a sofa, and some reading lamps. If the room could have a fireplace it would be a big plus. You could charge for it – it’s an adult reading class. Not a class for learning to read, but a class where you get to read, for forty-five minutes or so. There would be a waiting list.Until then, novelists take note: Keep the chapters short. Other people have to use the bathroom, too.