Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Listen Up - Part 3

This week I’m talking about all things audio. I’ve already talked about my early ruse to memorize books in order to trick people into thinking I could read. And I’ve talked about my discovery of audiobooks and how they completely redefined my childhood. But the audio world didn’t really open up for me until I found RFB&D (Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic). I’m not sure exactly when the decition was made to lump dyslexic people in with blind people in the world of audio books for the disabled, but I love whoever made that decree.

The thing that separates RFB&D from other audio book distributors is textbooks. As a member of RFB&D, I was able to get any book with and ISBN # on tape, including text books. So I guess I should go back and talk about text books before I found RFB&D.

When I was a kid, my mom’s reading rule was pretty simple. She would read absolutely anything alloud to my brother or I that we asked. This consisted of all our textbooks (elementary school, junior high, and high school). Since she wasn’t in class with us, she would fain confusion at all the complicated parts and ask us to explain the text to her. Somehow she managed to always ask about the topics that later showed up on tests and quizzes. Did I mension my mom was a teacher?

But there was one catch. My mom cut us off at the end of junior year. She wouldn’t be going with us to college, so for senior year we had to be on our own. Somehow, my brother survived this edict. He read all his text books during his senior year, then he managed to read all his text books in college while double majoring in philosophy and poli-sci. He didn’t break down and join RFB&D until the reading in law school became to much for him to handle.

Not me. I joined RFB&D during my sophomore year of high school (when my brother was a senior). Just watching him try to read his own history book gave me heart palpitations. I definately needed an audio alternative. And it was revolutionary. The audio textbooks didn’t talk back like my mom. And the special RFB&D tape recorder had variying speeds so I could listen to my AP Physicis book at Alvin & the Chipmonks speed. And I could do fun things like play video games at the same time.

Obviously, by the time I made it to college, I could perfectly comprehend text books on fast forward while simoltaniously beating Super Mario Brothers. I may have been a good listener back in elementary school. But high speed text books elevated my listening skills to a whole new level. I’m sure I learned things in my actual classes, but I think above everything else, the sharpest skill I came away with was my ability to listen. Memorizing lectures without taking notes was a piece of cake after all those Nintendo enhanced homework sessions.

When I graduated and stepped out into the literate adult world, my piss pour reading skills were such an afterthought they didn’t even matter. I could listen better than anybody! But I’ll wait until tomorrow to tell you about that.

Joke of the Day
How many letters are there in the alphabet?
24, because E.T. went home.

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