When Romance Becomes Horror

, , , , , , , | Related | October 7, 2019

(When I am 19 or so, my taste in books is a bit, well, trashy. I read “bodice-rippers” pretty much exclusively. My mother hates this and nags me constantly to “stop reading that garbage and read something good, instead.” I tell her to leave me alone; I enjoy those books and I am not harming anyone. One day, my dad approaches me:)

Dad: “My coworker is in the hospital, and she phoned yesterday to say that she could really use something to read. Do you think you could lend her some of your books?”

Me: “Really? Sure! What do you think she’d like?”

Dad: “How about those?” *points to my pile of romance novels* “I bet she’d like them.”

Me: “Well, I don’t mind, so long as she knows they’re just on loan.”

Dad: “Don’t worry about it. She’ll return them once she’s done.”

(I pack up all my trashy novels and give them to Dad. Weeks later:)

Me: “Dad, is your coworker done with my books yet?”

Dad: “Hmm? Oh. No, not yet.”

Me: “Really? It’s been ages. Surely she’s not still in the hospital?”

Dad: “No, she’s out now, but she’s still reading them.”

Me: “She does know that I want them back, right?”

Dad: “Yes, of course.”

Me: “Well, okay.”

(A few weeks later…)

Me: “Dad, can I have your coworker’s phone number?”

Dad: “What on earth for?”

Me: “I’d like to ask for my books back.”

Dad: *getting angry* “For Pete’s sake! I told you she’ll return them when she’s done.”

Me: “But–”

Dad: *loses temper* “ENOUGH!”

(This went on for months. I’d ask Dad to bug his coworker for my books, he’d make some excuse, I’d persist, he’d lose his temper and yell at me, and the cycle would repeat. I finally gave up when it had been more than a year. In hindsight, I can’t believe I was so naïve; there was obviously no coworker. This was a scheme cooked up by my parents to rid me of that “garbage” for once and for all. Joke’s on them, though; I now read Stephen King constantly, which disgusts my mother even more. Oh, well. I’m 55 now, and I’ll read whatever I darned well please.)

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