311. American Lit Abuse Society (ALAS)
After having this up for over a year, I finally received a note from the author, Michael McGrorty. Thanks for this delightful quiz, Michael!
Are You a Literature Abuser?
Literature Abuse: American's Hidden Affliction
Once a relatively rare disorder, Literature Abuse (or "readaholism") has risen to crisis levels due to the accessibility of higher education and increased college enrollment since the end of the Second World War. The number of literature abusers is currently at record levels.
Causes of Problem Reading
Excessive reading during pregnancy is the major cause of prenatal LA among the children of heavy readers. Known as Fetal Fiction Syndrome, it leaves its tiny victims prone to a lifetime of nearsightedness, daydreaming and emotional instability.
Most abusers have at least one parent who abused literature, often beginning at an early age and progressing into adulthood. Siblings of abusers are also likely to become literature abusers. Spouses of an abuser may themselves become problem readers.
Other predisposing factors: parents who are English teachers, professors, or heavy fiction readers; parents who do not encourage children to play games, participate in healthy sports, or watch television.
Social Costs of Literature Abuse
Abusers become withdrawn and uninterested in society or normal relationships. They fantasize, creating alternative worlds to occupy and daydream about "castles in the air," while neglecting work, friends, and family. In severe cases "problem readers" develop bad posture from reading in awkward positions, or from carrying heavy book bags. In the worst instances, they become cranky reference librarians in small towns.
Excessive reading during pregnancy is perhaps the number one cause of moral deformity among the children of English professors, teachers of English and creative writing. Known as Fetal Fiction Syndrome, this disease also leaves its victims prone to a lifetime of nearsightedness, daydreaming and emotional instability.
It has been established that heredity plays a considerable role in determining whether a person will become an abuser of literature. Most abusers have at least one parent who abused literature, often beginning at an early age and progressing into adulthood. Many spouses of an abuser become abusers themselves.
Other Predisposing Factors
Fathers or mothers who are English teachers, professors, or heavy fiction readers; parents who do not encourage children to play games, participate in healthy sports, or watch television in the evening.
Pre-marital screening and counseling, referral to adoption agencies in order to break the chain of abuse. English teachers in particular should seek partners active in other fields. Children should be encouraged to seek physical activity, and to avoid isolation and morbid introspection.
"Reading Addiction" has been classified as "behavior with a significant voluntary component," as defined in the Beatty-Eisner Amendment. If you are declared a "known literature abuser," you will become INELIGIBLE for SSA disability payments and/or ADA protections. Your fate is likely to be a life of poverty and despair, drifting from one dead-end job to another, as you wallow shamelessly in the causes of your addiction.
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Little Known Side Effects of Literature Abuse (Eleanor Dinkins)
LA sufferers often develop such a love of words that words spilling into their daily intercourse with others, so a wise therapist will look for these side effects.
LA sufferers occasionally confound others with pretentious displays of multi-syllabic words and unstinted forays into immoderate puns.
In about .5% of one test group that had been deprived of books for a period of 3 months, test subjects resorted to creating crossword puzzles, word searches, anagrams, palindromes, double entendres, spoonerisms, malapropisms, limericks, tautologies, and other such word games to indulge their cravings for words.
A small percentage of LA victims become unnecessarily concerned with word origins and have been known to search etymologies from contemporary jargon back to Romance language roots, to Latin, and finally to original grunts and cave paintings.
Another side-affect of Literature Abuse is synonym abuse. LA sufferers will spend inordinate amounts of time searching through the lexicon for the most precisely descriptive word to fit a sentence; i.e., which synonym is better to describe their conversation... is it chitchatting, babbling, quarreling, wrangling, arguing, debating, discussing, talking, ad nauseum.