You’ve really gone and done it now. You haven’t even started your summer reading, and you’re staring down the barrel of the paintball gun that is the first day of school. But it’s not your fault—wasn’t June, like, two days ago. And now it’s August. Did we even have July? Will your teacher accept a time warp as a viable excuse as to why you don’t know what happens at the end of Catch-22. Well, there’s that option, certainly. But there are others worth considering. So if you haven’t finished your summer reading, maybe think about…
1. Fleeing the country. Sure, this might strike some as a bit of an overreaction. But can you imagine walking into class on that first fateful day with zero summer reading in your arsenal? Does that ever happen? Would life explode? Are those kids perhaps just carted off to Room 101 and that’s why we never hear about them? (That’s a 1984 reference you’d get if you finished your summer reading, you lazy bum.) Don’t wait to find out what sort of hefty punishment is going to be bestowed upon your sorry keister. What else is there to do but pack your bags, get out of Dodge, and fade from the public eye to at least lessen the shame brought upon your family? You’ll be bereft of those pesky books, of course; you’re quitting school, so it’s all newspaper blankets and train-hopping for you from now on.
2. Owning up to it. Better people than you have procrastinated, and it all worked out just fine. Abe Lincoln was still revising the Gettysburg Address on his train ride to Gettysburg, Peter Jackson only finished editing The Return of the King a few hours shy of the premiere, and Harry Potter was still chucking that golden egg around in his room in the weeks leading up to the second task of the Triwizard Tournament.
If they’ve got the swagger to wait until the last minute AND end slavery, win three Oscars, and defeat Lord Voldemort, then you do too, probably.
3. Stocking up on excuses. It’s getting real up in here, so it’s time to Tom Sawyer this thing and lie your pants off. (That’s a reference you’d get if you cracked open a book once in a while, you literature-less moron.) Tell them a meteorite hit your house. Tell them your family pet was kidnapped by pirates and a summer-long chase full of hijinks and danger consequently ensued. Tell them you were hit in the face by a wild animal while reading to blind children. (Why exactly you were reading to the blind in a place inhabited by wild animals, and also how the entire animal hit you in the face, is completely up to you. Have some fun with it!)
4. Distracting and deflecting. There’s a quote attributed to W.C. Fields that you’re just going to have to run with: “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bull.” So the first time your teacher calls on you to drop some knowledge on the finer points of your summer reading, say something profoundly vague, like, “I think what’s most tragic is that, at the end of the day, we’re the ones killing our mockingbirds,” or “Aren’t we all just catchers in the rye?” I can’t say for sure whether or not this will fly. I’m guessing it will either spark a legitimate philosophical debate, or everyone will just pelt you with no. 2 pencils while they boo.
5. Just, you know… read the books. I believe in you. I believe in you 100%. (Or at least 92%. You are reading this article, after all.) Read them in a fedora. Read them aloud in a hilarious accent. Read them and reward yourself with cake. At the very, very least, promise me you’ll give the books one more shot before you flee the country or lie to your teachers or get booed right out of school, because people are going to be asking a lot of questions and you’re going to point them in the direction of this article (thanks a lot) and I’m going to have some explaining to do to various authority figures and possibly law enforcement. (But don’t rule out the time warp thing. I think we were on to something there. Does anyone even remember July?)
Have you started your summer reading yet, or are you currently forging a passport and booking a trip to Madagascar?
Topics: Books. Life. Back to School
In real life, she goes by the name Courtney Gorter. This is a closely guarded secret, and you’re the only one who knows about it, so be cool. She’s a writer, a bad influence, and a connoisseur of fine chicken nuggets. She realizes none of these things will help her survive a zombie apocalypse, and she’s made her peace with that. You can follow her on tumblr or Twitter if you want, but it’s just going to be a lot of complaining.
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