Tuesday, August 2, 2011

When Did You Learn How to Read?

It's the first section I read, blasting past all the real news, all of which can wait until I have read every bit of the Sunday Style section of the Times. There's Modern Love, and Social Q's, and my very favorite, Weddings and Celebrations. It's a very legitimate way to snoop into the lives of people I don't know at all, comparing accomplishments of the bride and groom, and backgrounds of the families. I study the pictures, trying to decide why the 38 year old partner in the Manhattan law firm is choosing to take her husband's name, or why two people who live and work in D.C. got married in St. Louis, where neither of their parents live, or how the woman with two Princeton professor parents married someone without a college degree.

The Times is the perfect place to list everything that has been accomplished in a relatively short time: doctoral candidacies, degrees from Oxford, charitable board seats .....and yet, not one wedding announcement that I have seen lists the exact age at which the bride and groom finally learned to read. It's amazing, this very important milestone and it isn't so much as mentioned. It's probably best, imagine Aunt June, were she to discover that William's fiance didn't put together sounds and letters until she was almost seven; everyone knows that a relationship built between a five year old reader and a seven year old reader will never last. This tidbit could keep Aunt June at home on the wedding day and force her to return the place setting of china purchased for the once happy couple, knowing that the relationship was certain to fail. And heaven forbid that the 36 year old senior analyst who graduated with honors from Columbia be outed as one who struggled and didn't finish his first chapter book until third grade. Not only would his marriage be doomed, unless of course he was engaged to marry another slacker, but his professional career would surely be over. What kind of super analyst must you be to overcome that kind of dirty laundry?

This is vital information that is being withheld. Imagine how this could change the current drawn out Presidential election process: two candidates, one learned to read a full year before the other, election decided. We could have avoided this entire debt ceiling debacle by knowing that Obama was placed in an accelerated reading group in first grade while Boehner was left to learn with the average students. Obama plan wins.

This could mean the end of the ever intimidating job interview. Thank you for submitting your resume for our review but at this time we have chosen to go with a candidate who learned to read six months earlier than you did. We wish you luck in your job search however we know that you will never find anything in our industry as it clearly states on your resume that you never fully understood the letter of the day on Sesame Street and thus, remained in the standard reading classroom your entire academic career.

Everyone knows that the age at which you learn to read is the most accurate predictor of future success; just ask the moms on the playground. Why the New York Times hasn't picked up on this I will never understand. All the news that's fit to print? I beg to differ.


MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

Rolled over...sat up...crawled...walked...said her ABCs...recited the Preamble to the Constitution...in my short 2 1/2 years as a parent, I've already heard so many playground comparisons. This post is a great reminder (and a fun one, too!). :) :)

Marion Williams-Bennett said...

I just loved this post. All of it.

Reading the NY Times, especially the wedding announcements can make me feel like a slacker, as I didn't graduate from Princeton and my father is not on a broad. Funny, but the Moms on the playground used to have that same effect on me when I'd hear at length that my girl wasn't crawling, walking, sitting, playing soccer, having playdates etc etc the way their kids were.

You're seeing this beautifully. There is so much time for learning and reading and growing. Let it unfold in it's own way.


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