Monday, November 28, 2011


When my father read the newspaper in the olden days he frequently, absentmindedly, tore off corners of the newspaper and chewed them as he ate up the news of the day. Cellulose is as indigestible as the news was, both in those days, and perhaps even more so today! Phytophagy can occasionally morph into the compulsion to eat vegetable matter unselectively and pathophysiology ensues if the matter is indigestible like cellulose. It leaves the growing mass of a cellulose ball called a Phytobezoar trapped in the narrow area of the GI tract! My dad never ate enough that it was other than a forme fruste of indigestible Phytophagy! Since he rarely read books, our stock of books was unmarked! One always knew he had read the paper or the magazine from the absent corners. A form of marking, like Kilroy! Like the neighborhood dog idly pissing on the hydrant, marking the bounds of the territory. I, for some reason, continued his habit, idly tearing the odd corner off a book and chewing it as I ingested the material and its content. It was never bad enough for it to be considered a pica, but it offended my friends if I had borrowed their book! Cellulose from paper is one thing, but wooden matches, toothpicks,popsicle sticks and other wood bits are worse. Human beings are not beavers. When I first married the pianist she was horrified to see the ingestion of her books, corner by corner as I sought to share her interesting reading material! I realize now it was a form of marking, done innocently! A habit idly acquired is easily dispensed with in the interest of literary harmony when love intervenes! I no longer have ever gone back to that bad habit, but when my son grew up, became a bibliophile and had his own library, I often read his books but for a while bent open the spines of his tighter books for easier reading. Again I was castigated for my book destructive tendencies. I am careful now to eat candy or popcorn when I read, and I strain to read obliquely through a semi-open book if it is newish and not my own! I want to be good!

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