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A Mental Chore


A Mental Chore

As I sat at our dinner table with our family of four, a little over two years ago. Our two teenage daughters and husband were discussing how reading enriches the mind. And how wonderful it was that all three of them were readers.

I listened in as only an alien from a foreign solar system could. The three at that point could probably easily have read 100 pages per hour and comprehend what they'd read.

Reading and comprehension were not in my mental vocabulary. To say it best I was reminded of just how painful reading has been all my life. Rarely, was it not.

As they chatted, I remained inside my quiet, little restless mental hell-hole. I know my IQ just touches the mark of genius. A friend of mine begged me to take an IQ test after I'd adopted our first child. My friend gave IQ tests.  She was from Shanghai and well...Brilliant.  i figured everyone would find out just how dumb I really was.

I was forty-one years of age (2003) when I finally acquiesced her request to take an IQ test.  I feared the score I had received was low. If Albert Einstein had 180 or so.  Then, my getting a 129, I must really be stupid, I thought.

Finally, she pried me for the score ten days after I received it.  Her response, "You're smarter. Take another one."  I vowed never to tell my husband. After I'd seen her reaction, I thought he's not going to believe me. I waited about a decade or more, it was a time we sat drinking coffee one evening about six years ago the kids were upstairs watching television. 

I blurted out. "So, um. I'm still not good at reading the books you read.  It's a font thing."

 He replied, "Funny, one of my colleagues told me that's a problem with many of the students we see failing." 

Then I felt safe, "So I'm a 129 IQ. And um ... couple my friends like Sally and Greg the PT said I'm higher. So, what do you think?"

His jaw dropped.  He did not know what to say.  "Really?"

The man at the time I'd been married to over thirty years was dumbfounded.

I replied, "I'm like a little smart or something. Not like our kids, but uh. I got a brain or something.  Kind of funny, isn't it?" I sheepishly smirked.

He looked at me, "Jody, that's amazing. "

I remarked, "I like blew you away or something huh?"

He continued, "When did you know this?"

I replied, "Like 2003."


What many did not know. Or I should say any did not know was... I would get excited about an idea of reading something exciting.  A book longer than a page. And then ... it occurred.  I'd struggle after I'd purchased the book. Get three pages in, breath... doggie ear the page or put a bookmark in where I'd stopped. I'd mutter to myself, "Maybe my brain is too active..." or something to that nature.  I would consider what I'd eaten that day or the day before. I knew for some reason everything else in life excited me more than reading. Yet, I was enthused for the knowledge that lay inside that book. A book perhaps on Neurobiology.   I always loved dissection. I own cadaver videos. I have watched them on multiple occasions.

I can read, it's the font type that can be disturbingly painful to my mind. It makes me give up for the moment. I am the type of person that doesn't give up. Not something I do. I am that person of "Do it to death", to a fault. 

If it were about philosophy, religion, medical articles, or something of that nature I'll kill myself to read it.  But if it is a novel and the wrong font, I just cannot bring myself completely on board.  It's not worth the mental exhaustion.  So, I have read multiple philosophical religious books, different religions... some twenty-five times over, some three times over. Medical articles are usually easy. Medical books, it depends.  It is a mental chore.

Back to the conversation about reading between our daughters and my husband over two years ago at our dinner table.  After they'd paused and were digging into the main meal as I was now nearly finished.

I announced, "You know you guys are really lucky. You know reading to me most times it feels like someone is stabbing me in the head.  It’s painful. And to see and hear that you guys, actually can do it. Well, thank God." Then comes the awkward pause. My husband acknowledging that he knew this for years. He'd also seen me hold a pen in my hands and say, "I can't use this texture it bothers mentally. Sorry, its painful." Funny enough, I have never been without three of my 'special' pens in my pockets.---Jody-Lynn Reicher


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