I May Not Be A Ferret Runner, But I’m A Damn Good Reader | Lifestyles

Surveys that ask, “What are your hobbies?” have given me chills for years. Other people always seemed to have interesting hobbies like skydiving or ghost hunting or ferret racing, so I often embroidered the truth and listed activities like jewelry making or writing poetry or the study of astronomy as ways I spent my free time.

I’ve finally moved on from these futile lies because anyone who’s known me for more than five minutes knows that the only jewelry I ever made was the camp thong type, the only poem I ever wrote dates back to the first grade (although it was pinned to the bulletin board as an example of nice word spacing), and the closest I’ve ever had to studying the stars is reading my daily horoscope.

My one and only hobby has always been and always will be reading, a hobby that I thought was incredibly cheesy and certainly not shouting from the rooftops. It still sounds pretty cheesy, but luckily I’m past the point of faking it. I’m finally proud to say I’m a reader, although I would argue with whoever came up with the slogan “Readers are leaders.” Most readers don’t want to direct anything; we just want to read everything.

That’s the only reading problem. One book leads to another, and there’s no way you’ll ever be truly finished. I remember taking a film studies class in high school and the teacher told us he couldn’t watch even a minute of a movie without feeling like you had to sit down and watch it all. I understand that because I’m the same with a book, even one that I don’t like. Kermit the frog might think it’s not easy being green, to which I say try to be neurotic.

I recently read a biography about a 1940s movie star whose ex-husband became President of the United States. Naturally, I had to read the memoir their son wrote about growing up with a famous mom and dad. In the son’s memoir, he talked about his often fragile relationship with his equally famous stepmother, so of course I had to read his memoir. This led to a book by the famous mother-in-law’s astrologer which really wasn’t very interesting, but I still finished it before picking up a book on how to write your own horoscope.

I tell you it’s endless.

When it comes to history and science subjects, I cheat a little and read children’s books when possible. Not picture books, but college editions that explain things in a way that any adult dum-dum, including this one, can understand.

Like when I read a novel about a dolphin who saved the heroine from drowning. After finishing it, I realized how little I knew about dolphins – would they really save someone who was drowning? So I read a college book about smiling creatures and now know that not only are there documented stories of dolphins rescuing stranded swimmers and performing many other amazing feats, I also want to adopt one and having it live in our bathtub.

I don’t really mind being neurotic when it comes to one book leading to another, even though it resulted in a dangerously high pile of books piling up on my bedside table. Frankly, I can’t think of a better pastime than reading, not even ferret racing, and I’m just waiting for the next time someone asks me what I do with my free time.

“I’m reading,” I’ll say proudly, shoulders back and bifocals perched on the tip of my nose. And I won’t even be intimidated if they tell me that in their spare time they make diamonds out of used wads of Juicy Fruit gum.

Which makes me wonder, how are diamonds formed anyway? Looks like it’s time to go to the library and find a college book about it.

Nell Musolf is a freelance writer based in Mankato. She can be contacted at [email protected]

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