Superdeformed's Journey into Science Fiction

For those who do not know, I happen to have a dark secret in my past. You see, as a child I failed the forth grade and barely passed the third grade before that. This puzzled my parents and most adults who know me because I was a pretty smart (nerdy) kid. Most of my public school teachers would say, "HE LAZY" (their words mind you) but the few teachers who've actually taken the time to know me were perplexed as well.

I'd always turn in assignments late and/or never keep up with people on tests and reading assignments. It was never a lack of trying I'd stay up til midnight doing homework that I started as soon as cartoons ended for the day (5pm). After a while I'd just skip it anyway and make up for it on tests. But this was all not enough for the 4th grade.

The summer after that dreaded school year my mother took me to an Optometrist. We quickly learned I had Strabismus. I did not a crazy case to where I looked cross-eyed or something like that, I also had 20/20 vision, but it was just enough to where I'd naturally want to read the same sentence over and over. Once I was diagnosed a lot of things about me made sense, why I had a hard time looking people in the eye (it was assumed shyness), why it'd take me hours to read a page of a book, why I was such a slow writer, why I'd literally want to pass out while I did homework and why I'd alway lean my head to the side when I focused on anything.

So after a Summer of eye therapy and I returned to the 4th grade and was on the A/B honor roll the entire year, the rest of my school life I hovered around a C average since I was more interested in other things and I had a pretty turbulent home life. I fucked off for a few years after high school, never intended to go to college, but eventually I went and got my Computer Science degree.

I'm not completely and utterly cured of the Strabismus. I'm still a slow reader and it still wears me out after a while. I guess that's why the fickle nature of the internet has always appealed to me, reading is done in short bursts here. I've always enjoyed being read to I liked stories in long form but unless I had an assignment and a deadline to push me, I have a hard time reading a book. I can never get in a comfortable position and after 10 minutes my eyes will get heavy. After about 2 paragraphs I will notice I'll want to start rereading a sentence and I'll have to close my eyes and remember my old eye exercises and reorientate. Still, I am faster than I was prediagnosis but it's still exhausting.

After college I had no classes requiring me to read, I've grown tired of most Japanese cartoons, and skimming Wikipedia made me long for actually reading the source materials for what my favorite movies and cartoons were influenced or based on. I've always pondered to myself "I should read more" but never get around to it or I've tried a few times and stopped. Then one day it all clicked. I realized why I don't read that much (see above) and it occurred to me I should try audiobooks. Maybe Leo Laporte's Audible ads brainwashed me.

Initially I was a little apprehensive. I wondered if I'd lose anything by not seeing the words or if the reader's performance would mar my perception of the story. After the first book I didn't find any of those problems. I was able to listen to the books during idle times at work, when I was doing the overly mundane kind of tasks I have to do everyday at work, or on my daily commute. Win win since I feel like I have decades of reading to catch up on.

Next time on 'Superdeformed's Journey into Science Fiction' ... Lensman

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