Tag: embarrassment

Books I’m Embarrassed not to Have Read Yet

The other day I was looking for a B read (I was in the middle of my A read) and pondering what I should start on next, began to think about what books I’d be embarrassed if it were revealed that I’d never read it.

Of course, the obvious thing to do in that situation is to make a list and post it publicly on the Internet, so everyone can see what I have never read.

  • Dune, Frank Herbert
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain. (In fact other than a couple short stories I’ve read almost nothing by Twain.)
  • The Odyssey, Homer
  • Something by Ayn Rand
  • Something by Nietzsche
  • Something by Lovecraft

It was almost painful to think about the situation of admitting I’d never read Dune. That one I’m taking care of right it now.

The Mark Twain was is pretty painful as well. I have to give America its props. America, you may have noticed, doesn’t have too many classic writers compared to England. (I believe this is because America was nation-building for its first hundred or so years and had not a many resources to devote to more artistic endeavors. By the time America came into its own as a civilized country, the art form that was drawing all the talent was cinema.) So I really have to read one of the few American authors who can hold his own with the greats.

Ayn Rand and Nietzsche are authors I don’t expect to agree with much (except for that irritating little “grain of truth” you know you can’t argue with), but part of being well-rounded is exposure to ideas you might not agree with.

My Watch Story

In a prior post, I mentioned how my parents, wanting me to be a Nice Young Man™, bought me a relatively expensive gold watch one Christmas, which I never wore except to try on once or twice, then some years later hawked off.

But the reality is, my aversion to wristwatches goes back further than parental manipulation. Well, it probably goes back to my very conception, since the genes I was issued predisposed me to a life of indifference to social conventions, especially silly arbitrary ones like, “A Nice Young Man™ should wear an expensive gold watch”.

But still, the small chance I had of ever getting into the habit of wearing a watch was not fully snuffed out until one day in the eighth grade. I had a cheap 10-year-old-boy-style watch, probably something I got in a grab bag, that I never wore, but did use as an alarm clock (it was freaky how loud it was). One day I thought, “Maybe I’ll wear it today.” So I clumsily strapped it to my left wrist, and got used to the awkward fingering of the controls. Then, the most important thing: I checked the alarm no less than three times to make sure it was set for 7:00 AM.

You see, in one of my morning classes we had a teacher who would bark at people when their watch alarms went off. This happened surprisingly often in the beginning of the school year (there were evidently a lot of Nice Young Men and Women™ in the class) and after awhile, everyone made sure their watch alarms were set properly. That is why I checked my alarm three times, to make sure it was set at my wake-up time, well before his class.

Well, it’s probably not hard to guess what happened. That damn watch’s freakily loud alarm went off right in the middle of his class. I had checked it three freaking times and it still went off.

Surprisingly, the teacher didn’t go apeshit on me like he did with other students earlier in the school year. Perhaps he sensed my embarrassment and figured it was punishment enough, or maybe he knew from experience that people who start wearing watches middle of the school year aren’t likely to continue, so it wouldn’t be a long-term problem. I don’t know, but my light treatment probably made it even more embarrassing.

Needless to say, it pretty much nipped any chance I had of ever wearing a wristwatch in the bud. I was an awkward teenager and had lots of embarrassing moments in school, but this incident ranks up there as one of the most poignant.

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