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August 10, 2009 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

How to read a book


I was balancing a vodka, a whiskey, and a wine in one hand, three beers in the other, and had begun pouring some Haagen-bier shots on the dash. This was an annoying way to be driving home, because I needed at least one hand free to make obscene finger gestures and the other to throw small marsupials out of the window at people. I was on my way back from a chairman’s meeting of the society for jabbing people in the ribs with a sharpened pencil while they’re carrying something heavy, and was riding my tractor at full volume in second gear down Devon Street. It was late at night, and I was in a bad mood. I hadn’t jabbed a single person in the ribs all damn day, and I felt much the saner for it. Bad vibes oozed off me, and coated the Aro Valley hippies in worry and negativity. None of them even knew though; they were probably all passed out halfway through watching the latest Al Gore bustblocker from too many joints to help them lie down.

Today we are looking at how to read a book. You have in your hands a magazine, not a book, so you’re not off to the greatest start, are you. Now go to the library, get a book, open it up, put this magazine in it, and read. If you are really drunk, you could just throw the book at someone, that would be pretty cool and funny, and cool. Otherwise, if you plan on reading it, you still need this magazine because you need to go making the transition from magazine to book slowly and steadily, not too fast or you could hurt your brain.

Now let me tell you a few things I have experienced in various book-reading adventures in my time, and how I have incorporated them into my unique and amazing ability to read a book for almost a whole two minutes to get me extra motivated enough to load up Tony Hawk.

I was reading this book by a scientist once, and this guy had all these pictures put in it. Now for every picture you see in a book, it means that you don’t have to read a thousand words, so skip a few pages forward. I was doing this, but I kept losing count on my way to a thousand, so I had to go back to the original word I left off when I first saw the picture, and get counting from there again! It took me days on end just to finish one chapter. While I read, my dinner caught fire in the oven. It was a salad. It was in the oven because there were flies in the kitchen, and there wasn’t enough room in the fridge. There wasn’t enough room in the fridge because for everything we put in the fridge, room got forced out, to the oven, which is opposite the fridge in our kitchen. Realising this, I quickly moved all my stuff into the oven, because until then I had the smallest room in the flat. Now I have the biggest, and the warmest.


I was just bathing and washing in my cauldron of warm jelly on the stove the other night, having a read of this cracking article about paint drying from the school of Arch & Des, and doing a wrestly-pouty-fighty-fight with my rubber duckie, when the sex mood struck me; I immediately got out of my cauldron and took my clothes off, in case I needed to use my sex moves for self defense, or self attack. I coated myself in buttermilk to raise the value of the coefficient of friction, a dimensionless scalar wave, which is of course, fundamentally, an empirical construction. My mighty angstrom of willy felt turgid with slime and longed to seduce maidens of the Antiu for the appeasement of Yig, the Father of Serpents, and three billion year-old Set, the seven-headed spawn of The Demiurge, born with the Elder Gods who were placed throughout the multiverse. I assumed a tuck position to stave off pesky wind resistance that could possibly slow down my sexing, ran up onto my neighbour’s roof, and serenaded them by playing every Nile album at the same time. I dived on through the window. When I got out of jail, I decided to investigate boobs.

A lot of men like boobs. In fact all men do. Gay men just like man-boobs, or big muscle-boobs, like on a body boober.

Boobs are an evolutionary adaptation that women decided to get when they caught their men repeatedly watching the Baywatch tribute part of episode VI of the Star Wars Trilogy when they’re on the sand dunes, and Princess Leia is wearing the bikini and is dating Jabba the Hutt. He tried to kill Luke, man! Why do the coolest women always go out with jerks? I don’t know the answer to this, but if I did, I would probably be just as confused. I have found that the search for truth always leads to more questions. Ignorance is certainly bliss. So is Princess Leia.


Walk up to the meanest, toughest looking staunchest most extremely tattooed psychotic rugbyhead gang member there. Ask him if he needs a hug. Ask him if A Night At The Opera is his favourite Queen album. Ask him if he sings it into a hairbrush while he’s alone in his room, while pretending to be Freddie.


We all know that poetry, an art that traces its beginnings back to the ancient art of tapping people on one shoulder while you’re behind their other shoulder, is only to be read aloud, especially when no one else is interested in it, which is all the time. To read poetry properly, you must co-ordinate your entire body into a choreographic, dancy, annoyingy oneness with the poem. Every fifth, seventh, and twelfth syllable, snap your fingers. Tap your foot whenever someone in the audience yawns; usually this means an approximate tapping speed of 50 to 60 beats per minute. At the start of each line, stress the first word, and stare at an audience member. Don’t stare at a depressed-looking one, you don’t want to push them over the edge! Halfway through the second-to-last letter of every sixth word clear your throat, and at the end of each line, trail off vocally as if you don’t know how to pronounce it, step back, let the audience heave a huge sigh of relief when they think the poem is over, then straight back into it! The look on their faces is priceless. Wiggle your hips at every word beginning with a consonant, and have a bad haircut and unsanitary appearance on every word that has any syllables in it. Live on someone else’s couch all the time without taking your shoes off, sleep in your clothes and leave a big body-shaped mark out of sweat on their couch, make sure you are always vague and never ever ever EVER get a job—this is the mark of a truly great poet. Now that you’ve been kicked out of that house and don’t have any mates, it’s time for life on the road!


This is where a poet will face nature, the elements, life itself. He will be abused, misused, taken advantage of, farted on, spat on, fall in dog crap, and still not change his clothes. No decent poet EVER changes their clothes. And that’s how to read a book.


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  1. Sebastian Henderson says:

    one of your best, that first paragraph is a killer!

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