26 July 2012

choose your own adventure

There are some people who treat their blogs as their confessionals. While I don’t necessarily condone this behavior (except I do share things like my dislike of wearing pants) and try to maintain distance, I have something that I need to get off my chest.

I cheat at “Choose Your Own Adventure” books.

“But that’s not a game,” you say, “and so it’s not technically cheating. Also, do people still do CYOA?” However you classify my shameful behavior, I think we can all agree that I’m doing it wrong. Besides, I’m sure there are people out there who do the same thing as me.

Before I get into how I choose my own adventure incorrectly, I should probably mention how difficult it is for me to read. You would think that after all these years and all these books, I would have a better grasp of my favorite thing to do, but you would be wrong. The problem lies precisely in what keeps me coming back—too much excitement for reading. Reading becomes scanning because I am way too eager to watch the story unfold, and, unfortunately, seeing is not the same as understanding.

So, I have to go back and re-read the passages, reminding myself the entire time to pace myself. It’s easy to get carried away though (especially with someone as impatient as me), so sometimes I revert back to reading at a pace that makes some words look like keyboard smash (safnkdja). It’s not until later that I realize that I didn’t grasp anything, and safnkdja isn’t a real word.

Besides the aforementioned lack of control I exhibit when it comes to reading normal books, that undisciplined behavior is amplified when the reading material happens to be CYOA. I always tell myself that I’m not going to cheat this time, but I know that I’m just lying to save face.

Once I reach a fork, I have to know what happens with each option, and subsequently know what each option within that option leads to. Because of my curiosity, I end up with each of my fingers employed as a bookmark to mark where the plot branches off and me flipping furiously to read all the storylines.

It’s not necessarily that I don’t want to be wrong (though I don’t), but more that I want to explore every option and analyze how certain choices lead to certain outcomes. Plus, I would hate to miss the information relayed at different points in the book. In other words, I NEED TO KNOW EVERYTHING. And if everything I want to know is just there, an illegal page turn away, why wouldn’t I do it?

I know, I know. Playing by the rules, discipline, and all that stuff about how I’m only cheating myself. But, considering how such an opportunity is impossible in real life, why wouldn’t you jump at the chance to see how every decision you make could pan out, even if the stakes aren’t that high?

If you still don’t agree with me, then you would be a really boring protagonist in a sci-fi movie. It’s the truth. Sorry I’m not sorry.


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