I get almost daily comments on my name.
Some people ask me why I go by middle name. Why, if my mom was planning on calling me Reid anyways, would she make it my middle name, not my first. My answer: ask my mom, I didn’t name myself.
In third grade, I got teased mercilessly by twin boys in art class, because apparently, my teacher thought that seating was a good idea. They told me over and over that my name was a boy’s name. I think I should be congratulated for not committing some horrible act of violence or degradation.
In my music circles, I get questions about why I don’t play instruments with a reed in them, like the oboe or clarinet. My answer: because I don’t have determination or discipline enough to learn a second instrument.
A couple weeks ago, I heard a joke I’ve never heard before in regard to my name. Someone said something along the lines of me “swaying in the wind like a reed.” I congratulated them for originality though I’m not quite sure if thats a compliment or not.
The joke I hear most often, though, is some sort of play on – drum roll please – reading.
“Hey Reid, do you read?” (What do you think.)
“Would you like to read out loud for the class, Reid?” (Why, yes, yes I would.)
“Ha, Reid is reading, get it? Haha…” (Not.)
And to my great demise, I must not deny the jokes, for I do read, a great lot, as it goes.
When I was little I read anything that I could get my hands, as many books I could carry home from the library. As I got older, I got the biggest book I could find, foolish enough to think that bigger books were better, cooler. In middle school, I got books that had daring front covers, hoping that somebody would see them and think me, brave. As I entered my later middle school years, I began to read more out of necessity for English classes, but still spending large blocks of my breaks and lunches in the library. As I got to high school, I had largely dropped off reading new books, reading over and over the few books I brought to Kenya with me, searching for comfort and clarity of mind.
But I’ve slowly returned to this past time of mine, reading. I’ve begun to read poetry, nonfiction, small books, paperbacks.
I came back because I needed whatever reading had always given me. And this is what I discovered.
Reading allows me to widen my perspective, open my eyes, as they say. Reading poetry helps me in my attempt to write better poetry. Reading nonfiction brings my attention to the way diction makes a big difference in how I understand a real life situation. Reading small books teaches me that less is very often more, and every word counts. Reading helps me to understand people. Without reading, I was lost, because a large part of my learning was gone.
Without reading, I wasn’t growing in understanding. Without reading, when somebody made a joke, I had to say, “No, I don’t read.”