Heard an actor–I can’t remember who–confessing in an interview that he was one of those kids who read the Encyclopedia Britannica for kicks. He grew up reading it all the time. He knew all kinds of worthless facts. Obscurities. Science terms and Roman emperors. I laughed and remembered that I too used to read the Encyclopedia Britannica for kicks. I still have the set. It’s shoved in a corner now, by the hat tree, and I’m feeling a little guilty about that. I mean, I grew up with that set. It was my wikipedia. I’d literally surf the set–they called it browsing then–and read whatever hit me as interesting. There were I think 27 volumes, from Aachen to zygote, and I’d sometime close my eyes and pluck one of those volumes out at random, just for fun. Seriously, that was my idea of a good time. My education was probably 99% my own reading, and 1% school. At least what I remember. Otherwise I was bored and not really giving a fuck. Besides, I could fake my way through anything with an essay test. Anything but math. I flunked math. I got a D in pre-algebra summer school. It was a make up class. I’d already gotten an F.
If you’re gonna flunk, I figured, flunk big.