On Reading the New Yorker

In my freshman year in college, I had a young professor for my first English class. One of our weekly assignments was to read any piece in the New Yorker and write a summary about it. At the time, I knew nothing about design and marketing. I didn’t take the New Yorker seriously because of its cartoon illustrations. Furthermore, I didn’t understand a single thing I read in the magazine. The articles were so long and I got bored just looking at the pages I have to go through.

The young professor was really helpful though. Because she lived on campus, sometimes she invited me to her place to correct my massive grammar mistakes, something I don’t seem to overcome. I was in her class for two semesters in a row and I loved them both. Another assignment I enjoyed doing was keeping a daily journal. She then collected the journal on Friday, read them and wrote back her comments. Come to think of it, she is responsible for my addiction to blogging.

Even after I graduated from college, I never enjoyed reading, but I forced myself to read tech books to learn computer skills. I started getting into reading around the time I began my interest in blogging. I read mostly non-fiction books because I thought that if I spend time reading, I better learn something out of it. I read jazz books because the subject interested me. Then I finally figured out that reading is the best way to kill time like when I get stuck in a doctor office or riding on the train; therefore, I try to take a book with me whenever I go. I just hate waiting.

To find interesting topics for my blog, I started reading online. New Yorker then became one of my favorite sources. I read most of the articles posted online, but a year or so ago the New Yorker limited its online publications to its subscriber. I knew it was time for me to get the print edition. I kept pushing it off until late last year when my niece had a fundraising for her school. If I subscribe to a magazine, the school will get 40% (or something like that). Killing two birds with one stone, I couldn’t refuse. Since then I have always looking forward to Wednesday to read the New Yorker.

What I like about the New Yorker is that I read and learn something new every issue in addition to its political coverage and music review. I appreciate the level of detail in the pieces. I should have subscribed to the New Yorker a long time ago and I don’t think I ever want to cancel my membership. Then I read Raffi Khatchadourian’s “Transfiguration” last week and realized is it good to know all this information?

The excellent piece details the process of transplanting a face to a young man who was shocked by high-voltage power. He was burnt so bad that the doctors had to cut off his mouth, eyes and nose. They had to put temporary pig skin on his face to help him heal. Then there’s an account of a woman who took too much sleeping pills then collapsed. After she woke up and tried to smoke a cigarette only to find out that her whole mouth had been eaten by a dog. This is one of the reasons we will never have any pet in our house.

Sometimes I feel like ignorant is a bliss. The less I know the better. Being a parent every little thing makes me paranoid. What happen if something like that in the article happened to my kids? I was doing the dishes the other day and I turned on the food-waste disposer. Then something occurred to me. What if one boy tells the other to put his hand down there then turns on the switch?

When we bought the house, one of my favorite features was the laundry shooter. It’s great because we can just throw dirty clothes down to the basement. I was holding Cu Dan on my arms the other day and staring at the laundry shooter for a minute and thought what if Cu Dao decided to give his little brother a slide from the top floor to the basement? It’s damn near impossible to do, but the thought occured in my mind.

Then there are sharp toothpicks found around the house. What if one guy decided to poke his brother’s eye out with the toothpick to see what happened? Then the door to the basement, which hardly shut tight. What if one decided to push the other down the basement?

I talked to Dana about my paranonia and she felt the same way, especially about the toothpicks. I am really glad that I am not the only one. Still, reading things that happened to other people give me a chill. That’s also one of the reasons I don’t watch the news. It just creeps the shit out of me.