The Reader

Cidu Bill on Jun 21st 2013


This one made me laugh for a personal reason (I’m pretty sure I told this story in a different context a while back here, so feel free to skip past it…

A few days before my son’s fourth birthday, as he was sitting on my lap and I was reading “Little House on the Prairie” to him, I noticed his head kept moving left to right and back again in sync with the words I was reading. I stopped and said “Zachary, do you know how to read?”

He said “Yes,” sort of hesitantly.

“Why didn’t you tell us?”

“Because I like being read to, and once you knew I could read, you wouldn’t read to me anymore.”

(and as it turned out, because I’m a terrible human being, he was pretty much correct)

Filed in Bill Bickel, Randy Milholland, Something Positive, comics, comics strips, humor | 20 responses so far

20 Responses to “The Reader”

  1. squeepy Jun 21st 2013 at 04:43 pm 1

    Anyone coming to this one cold is going to be misled about the relationships in the strip. Davan is not Rory’s father, and he’s not with Rory’s mother. But he recently decided to start calling Davan Dad, because he fulfulls the position better than anyone else around. It’s been a pretty great commentary on the modern mutability of “family”: it is what we say it is.

  2. jayjaybear Jun 21st 2013 at 05:34 pm 2

    I noticed when I read that this morning that Davan called Rory “Boy”, which makes him sound just like Fred (Davan’s dad, for those who don’t follow the strip). Which I thought was a really nice touch.

  3. Cidu Bill Jun 21st 2013 at 06:55 pm 3

    On the other hand, squeepy, since Davan effectively is his father, a new reader might go a long time before seeing anything that might confuse him; the same way somebody who began reading five years ago has probably seen nothing to contradict the assumption that Monette is Fred’s biological daughter.

  4. Elyrest Jun 21st 2013 at 07:57 pm 4

    Sometimes it’s very comforting to have someone read aloud to you.

  5. James Pollock Jun 21st 2013 at 08:07 pm 5

    We did it transitionally at my house; first, my daughter got read to until she fell asleep, then, she got read to a fixed number of pages, then she got read to a fixed number of pages and then she was allowed to read additional pages, finally, she does her own reading at bedtime.

    Of course, there was another unfortunate change; early on, her mother read to her, most of the time and I did only occasionally (I worked 4 nights a week) then there was a divorce and I read to her all the time.

  6. minorannoyance Jun 22nd 2013 at 04:28 am 6

    Back in the strip’s racier early days, Dennis the Menace was being read to by his father, who regarded the book suspiciously:

    “. . . ‘He smiled at his babysitter. She was tall and shapely. She was a living doll.’ . . . Where did you GET this book, Dennis?”

  7. Morris Keesan Jun 22nd 2013 at 09:20 am 7

    Yes, Bill, you have told that story before, but it’s a nice one, so I don’t mind seeing it again.

    And as an aside, providing a little extra depth to the comic, I’ll mention that there is nobody named Igor in Frankenstein. It’s not clear to me whether the cartoonist, or the adult character, knows this.

  8. Kilby Jun 22nd 2013 at 10:14 am 8

    @ Morris Keesan (7) - I didn’t know that “Igor” was a later incorporation, but it seems likely that the cartoonist did, and that his adult character was intended to know this bit of trivia as well.

    P.S. There may not have been an “EEE-gore” in “Frankenstein“, but there certainly was an “EYE-gore” in “Young Frankenstein“. ;-)

  9. Bob in Nashville Jun 22nd 2013 at 11:26 am 9

    I don’t follow this strip, but I can recall identifying with where the boy is coming from when I was a little boy.

    Enjoying a book above one’s grade level is great, but then come parental expectations to do so, and with that pressures to perform, and then it becomes torture.

  10. Morris Keesan Jun 22nd 2013 at 02:13 pm 10

    To clarify: there’s no Igor in Mary Shelley’s book. I’m browsing around at imdb to see if I can find a movie character named Igor, but so far I haven’t seen one in the cast lists for the 1931 or 1994 film versions of Frankenstein, nor in The Bride of Frankenstein, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein, or Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man. I’m now intrigued enough to search more thoroughly; I really wonder how this character got so firmly embedded in popular consciousness.

  11. Morris Keesan Jun 22nd 2013 at 02:20 pm 11

    The character, originally named “Ygor”, appears to have first appeared in the 1939 movie Son of Frankenstein, played by Bela Lugosi, who repeated the role a few years later in The Ghost of Frankenstein.

  12. Chakolate Jun 22nd 2013 at 02:26 pm 12

    Elyrest @4, I agree - it’s great to be read to. I love putting audio books on my mp3 player while I’m driving. There’s just something so calming about it.

    Libravox has free audiobooks, read by (mostly talented) amateurs, and has many of the classics.

  13. Elyrest Jun 22nd 2013 at 02:58 pm 13

    Chakolate - Thank you for the audio recommendation - I’ll have to check it out. I’ve listened to a number of books while in the car, doing dishes, or cooking.

    For anyone else -

  14. Kamino Neko Jun 22nd 2013 at 05:34 pm 14

    The fact that there’s no Igor in the book is the whole joke, so, yes, Randy and Davan both clearly know that.

  15. Mark in Boston Jun 22nd 2013 at 09:16 pm 15

    I think Igor also turns up in the song “Monster Mash”.

  16. Cidu Bill Jun 23rd 2013 at 01:47 am 16

    My wife worked with a guy named Igor, who was newly-arrived from Russia and had no idea why people seemed to be amused by his name.

  17. Robert Jun 23rd 2013 at 01:59 pm 17

    Ah, fond memories of reading to my sons.
    “Tonight you have two choices from ‘The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane’, boys. Would you like ‘Moon of Skulls ‘ or Death’s Black Rider’?”
    “Death’s Black Rider, pop!”

  18. Mark in Boston Jun 23rd 2013 at 10:54 pm 18

    Of course there are more famous Igors, such as Igor Stravinsky and Igor Sikorsky.

  19. Meryl A Jun 27th 2013 at 01:06 am 19

    When I was a kid in the early 1960’s there were all sorts of “help Johnny read” things being sold (sort of like the sue your doctor, etc. ads on today). My mom used to joke that she needed something to stop Meryl from reading as I read so much.

  20. David S. Jun 29th 2013 at 08:42 am 20

    My mother was trying to get me to read chapter books, and was reading me Tales of a Fourth-Grade Nothing a chapter a time at night. One night she came in and started reading, and I said, no, I read that chapter myself, skip to the next one. Which greatly annoyed her since she hadn’t read that chapter herself and wanted to know what happened.

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