“In today’s installment, we hear from three MinnPost staffers who have time to read,” From MinnPost’s Book Club Club post.
Nothing sends me through the roof like seeing that phrase “have time to read.” It bothers me more than “it is what it is” and improper use of begs the question combined. It bugs me even more that it’s coming from MinnPost, a website that I adore and that, well, asks people to read its articles.
I hate “have time to read” for two reasons. First, it insinuates that the reader does nothing but fritter away his/her time lazing about reading . . . books! Books! Oh, just think of all that lascivious self-indulgence. If only we too had the time to do something so decadent. But no, we are much too busy and important to have time to read books.
You never, ever hear or read about someone insinuating people who watch American Idol (or Glee or Lost or Dr. Who) “have the time.” Nobody ever talks about people who go see a new movie every other week “having the time.” No, time is only of the essence when it comes to reading books.
Sure, I realize that reading an entire book is something of a time commitment. But American Idol is on like four hours a week. How much reading could you get done in four hours?
Also, I refuse to believe people don’t “have time to read.” That’s crap. If you have time to watch any TV at all, you have time to read a book. If you fall asleep to the TV in your bedroom, you have time to read a book. If you read three magazines a month, you could spend that time reading a book.
It’s not that you don’t have time to read. It’s that you choose to spend your free time doing something else. Which is fine. Just stop being condescending about how other people “have time to read.” Because you have the same time.
Second, it’s nothing more than a lame excuse for not reading books. If you feel bad about it, start reading books.
And yes, I realize you mean that you don’t make time to read books when you say you don’t have time. But you know what, start saying what you mean. Because you know what I hear when you say you don’t have time to read?
I hear, “I’m a self-important windbag who is really busy with all the important things that occupy my very precious (and important) time that I have so very little of that I must spend it doing important things importantly.”
Sometimes I just hear, “I’m not very smart.”
Instead of saying you don’t have time to read, say you don’t make time to read books. That’s okay. I don’t make time for a lot of things I believe I should do — like exercising or cleaning. I never say I don’t have time to do those things, because I do. I just choose books instead.
So let’s stop being condescending pricks, okay? And next time you feel the words don’t have time to read bubbling up from your throat or your keyboard, just stop. Take a deep breath. Don’t make an excuse about not having time. Just say (or write), “I wish I read more.” That’s all it takes. You get to be honest with the extra special bonus of not making someone else feel bad. Everybody wins!
There, that’s your Supergenius Manners lesson of the day. I am off to decadently fritter all my time in a tub while listening to The Feminine Mystique.