I learned to read when I discovered that books were a form of transportation that could get me from math to the Mississippi in a matter of seconds. Anything to get away from Mrs. Murnau's screeching chalk and Farmer Brown's chickens, which were always coming and going from eggs to chicks to skillets and ovens. Today I realize Farmer Brown suffered from OCD, an obsessive-compulsive disorder that drove him to count and recount and divide and multiply and subtract — he was loony — I was immune, and grateful to this day. Two eggs or three? they ask; What's the difference? I answer.
I learned to write during an in-class essay test on The Scarlet Letter, which I had not read. I didn't even know what it was about, or which letter. I'd been reading something else. It didn't stop me from turning in a fine paper. I received high praise for my effort, along with an F, and a private meeting with my English teacher whose only question was: What's wrong with you? I don't remember my answer, but I clearly remember the color she turned when I told her she had beautiful eyes. It was scarlet.
Her face, not her eyes. Her eyes were green. She was my English teacher through all four years of high school, which, I'm told, is a mathematical improbability. When she decided in my senior year that I was to be her lover, the math made a little more sense.
I graduated from high school because my time was up, went on to art school where they encouraged behavior like mine, and felt my way through life, eventually becoming a successful freelance writer for various corporate clients in Chicago. About 26 years later I noticed my phone hadn't rung in about a year. A year after that I was counseled to consider getting a job. The next year brought bankruptcy, the sale of my home and a new residence of the far edge of civilization, followed by nearly a year of nonstop limo driving to and from O'Hare International Airport, undoubtedly the nastiest, rudest, meanest place on Earth. Three months after the first time I awoke at 75 mph I finally had to admit that sleeping while driving was hazardous to tips. I quit the limo business, took up blogging and waited for my IRA to run out, which brings us up to date, roughly.