Back when I was a kid, Blogs were called 'imaginary friends' and were only slightly more pathetic.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

If you can read this, you're alright

I live above a mall that you could politely refer to as 'urban'. Impolitely, ghetto. Basically a one-stop shopping center for Cedric The Entertainer suits, high heeled converse sneakers, cheap gold medallions and counterfeit Fubu. That said, let me assure you that the following has nothing to do with race, color or creed.

Every Tuesday this mall is closed. I know this because all the lights are out, the doors are locked and there's massive signs painted on every door that say 'Closed Tuesdays'. Some of you probably already know where I'm going with this. I might be outside the front of my building for a grand total of about 15 minutes on any given Tuesday, but I bet I'm asked an average of 4 or 5 times, "What's up with the store? How do I get in? Why are the lights out?". All while looking through the sign painted on the door explaining everything they need to know. Usually when I inform them of what's happening, the response is something along the lines of "Well, Ain't that a bitch" and they walk away. A few times, however, my word and all the physical evidence just aren't good enough and they go try the other doors or try and get in through my apartment entrance.

Now truth is, this really doesn't bother me that much. It's certainly not the end of the world to take 30 seconds out of my day. But to me it's just kind of depressing. Learning to read basic signs is the least we ask of people as a civilization. Once you learn to make meaning out of simple words and phrases like 'closed', 'stop' and 'rape is bad', you are halfway home to not being a burden on the rest of the world.

I know that illiteracy is a terrible problem and that there are lots of other factors that come into play, but if it were you, wouldn't you force the issue just a little? Wouldn't you grow tired of being confused and scratching your head constantly?

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to studying the elementary spanish I've been too lazy to learn for the last 15 years.



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