Reading was such a joy as a child. I remember being 12 years old or so; being swept into the magical world that books soared me into. I could sit down and read a book and literally have to pull myself away from it. Upon hours and hours of reading, enough was enough. Whether it was Stephen King to Michael Crichton…Dean Koontz to R.L. Stine…I couldn’t get enough of what books offered me. It was addicting. Until…
…the Book It program. Earn a free 1 Topping Personal Pan Pizza from Pizza Hut after each book read. I don’t even remember having a choice of being included in the program, you were kinda just…BOOM…in it. So my addiction for reading took an ugly turn. I read alot of books anyway…but to get rewarded in such a gluttonist way seemed as an afterthought.
So I read…and read…and read. Until I had 2 or 3 coupons at a time. I think there were limitations but my teacher was just willy-nilly handing them out. No proof was needed on successfully reading a book, you just told him and you got one. You had to tell him what it was about but you could read the back flap to him and that dumbass didn’t know.
Little by little I was reading the books. Receiving the pizza. Read a book. Receive the pizza. Soon enough, the book was of little value to me, it was all about getting that pizza. No longer the rides of emotion involved in reading a book, just the emotion of taking the first bite into that golden crust. I eventually breezed through the book…get my coupon…and totally spaced what I just read. There towards the end, I didn’t want to read anymore. I would just SAY I read the book; give a half-ass explanation of it…and STILL get the coupon.
I know what you are thinking, “Don’t blame Book It because you a chubby that has no self control.”…and worse…you got a point. But sometimes you need your mom to slap your hand away and let you know to let it go. But neither my parents or the teacher restricted me in any way. The teacher thought, “Wow…he must really love reading. This will help him excel.” My parents thought, “Christ sakes I am so tired of driving up to Pizza Hut about every other day…but…it is going to help him excel.”
Quite the opposite happened. Book It helped contribute to my childhood obesity (wasn’t the only reason, mind you). I got bigger. Realized video games and movies were much more entertaining than boring books. Quit reading. It’s like I went from weed to crack in a matter of months. Thought it was fun to do from time to time, to forcing it down my gullet because…well…i could. Fine…I was a Book It junkie.