By Danny Tyree
“Time Enough at Last.”
The new year reminds me of that classic “Twilight Zone” episode starring Burgess Meredith as a put-upon bookworm.
(No, he wasn’t reading on the wing of an airplane! Get your episodes straight, with “The Twilight Zone Companion,” for Pete’s sake!)
True bibliophiles are all the same. Whether our preference is studying the rise and fall of empires or the rise and fall of heaving bosoms, we eagerly anticipate how many volumes we can absorb in the pristine, wide-open next 12 months.
The lucky few exceed their wildest expectations. The rest of us find one obstacle or another curtailing or demolishing our plans.
Some readers persevere and come up only a few chapters short when New Year’s Eve ends. Other poor wretches finish the year woefully short of even scaled-back goals. (“Maybe next year I’ll find out if Thing One and Thing Two get out of that box!”)
Sometimes kowtowing to political correctness is the cause of our failure. (“No, you’re not going to be reading anyone’s ‘Collected Works.’ Works implies a meritocracy! Down with systemic Dewey Decimal System!”)
Family obligations put reading on the back burner. Even if you’re full-blooded Cherokee, you’ll find relatives from “the old country” magically arriving unannounced to spend three weeks!
Sometimes totally unexpected family tragedies intervene. (“Who could have guessed that my ceiling-high stack of backup encyclopedias would somehow bury Grandpa alive? Say, I wonder if Guinness has a record for Most Harrowing Non-Coalmine Rescue Attempt?”)
Finite hours and competition from podcasts, streaming services and video games chip away at good intentions of curling up with a good book. (“Tonight’s true-crime podcast: it’s truly a crime what you’re doing to your poor spine as you curl up with…”)
Sometimes your enthusiasm wanes when you realize no one outside your book club cares about the milestones you pride yourself on. (“Dostoevsky? Tolstoy? Aren’t they the guys who invented pickleball? Grab a seat and I’ll tell you about the Volley from Hell…”)
Longer commutes, mandatory overtime and stressful promotions can all cut into precious reading time. Say goodbye to Louis L’Amour and John Clancy. Now all you have time to read is “100 Clients You Must Suck Up to Before You Find the Sweet Release of Death.”
Even good news such as grandchildren moving closer can be detrimental to your reading goals. (“Grandpa, why didn’t Stephen King autograph this first-edition book with ink that could withstand peanut butter and jelly?”)
Don’t get me started on social obligations and household chores. Sometimes you just can’t help going into Beastie Boys mode. You gotta fight for your right to paaaaage turn! (“Yes, I could use this pressure washer to clean the vinyl siding or…I could use it to hold you at bay while I finish these brain teasers.”)
Me? With the hope that springs eternal within the heaving or non-heaving human breast, I aspire to finish reading “The Roswell Legacy,” Garry Marshall’s “My Happy Days in Hollywood” and “The Grand Ole Opry: The Making of an American Icon” this year.
I hope that you can meet all your own reading goals this year. Maybe you’ll even order my second self-published book from Amazon. (Search “Danny Tyree Why.”) Hint hint.
“You’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of Tyree being encouraged to hold onto his day job…”