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Natural progression.
September 22, 2012 3:55 PM   Subscribe

Tricking your parents into thinking you're reading...
posted by griphus (84 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite

 
....damnit


teenagers weren't nearly this cool when I was one

WTF man.
posted by The Whelk at 4:01 PM on September 22, 2012 [17 favorites]


"To be honest with you, griphus? I'm surprised."
posted by Rhaomi at 4:02 PM on September 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't get it. HOW DID THEY TAKE PICTURES OF THEIR PHONE IF THEY WEREN'T USING THEIR PHONE?!?
posted by Blue_Villain at 4:03 PM on September 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


there's a camera in most laptops
posted by The Whelk at 4:04 PM on September 22, 2012


That kid isn't really reading. He's only on the first page.
posted by michaelh at 4:04 PM on September 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tricking MeFites into thinking you're using a phone, when really you're using a camera.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 4:05 PM on September 22, 2012 [17 favorites]


Also, it's possible to be your parent, but only with time travel if your DNA is some kind of fixed-point combinator.
posted by michaelh at 4:05 PM on September 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would hazard to guess that for most MeFites, the trick was to make your parents think you were asleep, and not reading.
posted by charmcityblues at 4:07 PM on September 22, 2012 [131 favorites]


The best is the sad, sad girl who 01) spent all that time putting on eye makeup for an internets photo only to 02) "actually read" her book upside down.

Further lols: I got into a delightful internets argument with someone about those pix because they claimed that the book only APPEARED to be upside down in the same way that the writing on her shirt is reversed.
posted by elizardbits at 4:09 PM on September 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yeah, where's "Tricking your parents into thinking you're outside enjoying this beautiful weather that won't last forever, you know"?
posted by benito.strauss at 4:13 PM on September 22, 2012 [11 favorites]


The best is the sad, sad girl who 01) spent all that time putting on eye makeup for an internets photo only to 02) "actually read" her book upside down.

I dunno, it looks to me like she had it right side up for the first photo, then for whatever reason turned it over instead of turning it around for the second photo?
posted by reprise the theme song and roll the credits at 4:16 PM on September 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


Tricking MeFites into thinking you are an FPP, when really you are just a bunch one one-liners.

OK...

I'll admit, for the sake of fairness, that is an awful lot of FPPs.

Enough to be a book!
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:19 PM on September 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


Actually, it looks right side up in the second photo, too. I'm not seeing any upside-down-ness.
posted by reprise the theme song and roll the credits at 4:19 PM on September 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


guys this is how memes kill people.
posted by The Whelk at 4:22 PM on September 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


The best is the sad, sad girl who 01) spent all that time putting on eye makeup for an internets photo

Or she was wearing it anyway?
posted by dumbland at 4:24 PM on September 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


Yeah, looks the right way up to me too. I just flipped the image, 'cause I'm cool like that, and it just looks like a page of dialogue.
posted by howfar at 4:28 PM on September 22, 2012


This reminds me of my favorite Bob Dylan quote:
I'm looking for a place that will collect, clip, bath and return my dog. Kn1 7727, cigarettes and tobacco. Animals and birds bought or sold on commission. animals and birds bought or sold on commission. I want a dog that's gonna collect and clean my bath, return my cigarette, and, and give tobacco to my animals, and give my birds a commission. I want- I'm looking for somebody to sell my dog, collect my clip, buy my animal and straighten out my bird. I'm looking for a place to bathe my bird, buy my dog, collect my clip, sell me cigarrets and comission my bath. I'm looking for a place that's gonna collect my commission, sell my dog, burn my bird, and sell me to the cigarette. Going to bird my buy, collect my will, and bathe my comission. I'm looking for a place that's going to animal my soul, knit my return, bathe my foot and collect my dog. Comission me to sell my animals to the bird to clip and buy my bath and return me back to the cigarettes.
posted by dgaicun at 4:29 PM on September 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


The book isn't upside down; it's flipped, like a mirror image, just like her t-shirt.
posted by SillyShepherd at 4:34 PM on September 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


Sometimes the Internet depresses me, and then other times I realize that avant-garde art is basically de rigeur for, like, middle-schoolers now and my head turns into a phone. In the good way.
posted by threeants at 4:38 PM on September 22, 2012 [22 favorites]


I love it when I get to watch these things evolve in real time. Spending my life on tumblr is indeed a proud memory.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 4:39 PM on September 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


What she's reading.
posted by SillyShepherd at 4:40 PM on September 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yep, it's right-side-up. Here's the actual book cover. It looks a little wonky to start with, with the asymmetrical composition and tilted/upside-down figures, so I did a little bit of a double-take too when I saw it flipped l/r in the first photo.
posted by Strange Interlude at 4:41 PM on September 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


OH MY GOD I HAVE TO APOLOGIZE TO A STRANGER ON THE INTERNETS NOW

no fuck that i won't and you can't make me
posted by elizardbits at 4:43 PM on September 22, 2012 [30 favorites]


Then who was phone?!
posted by adamdschneider at 4:44 PM on September 22, 2012 [13 favorites]


Then who was GOD DAMN IT
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:45 PM on September 22, 2012 [11 favorites]


I would hazard to guess that for most MeFites, the trick was to make your parents think you were asleep, and not reading.

I had to use an ice cube on my reading light so my mom wouldn't notice it was hot when she came up to check.

Also had to trick my parents into thinking I was emptying the dishwasher when I was actually reading. (Did this by doing both at the same time...very slowly.) Never did figure out how to read and mow (or better yet, weed the garden) at the same time.
posted by DU at 5:23 PM on September 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


benito.strauss: "Yeah, where's "Tricking your parents into thinking you're outside enjoying this beautiful weather that won't last forever, you know"?"

I hated being sent outside when I was reading. What's sad is that I never realized I could sneak books outside and read outside.
posted by deborah at 5:28 PM on September 22, 2012 [9 favorites]


no fuck that i won't and you can't make me

If we turned this upside down and backwards, it would be an apology. So, in some sense, you have already apologized. In the Upside Down Mirror Universe, of course, but, still....
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:29 PM on September 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Never did figure out how to read and mow (or better yet, weed the garden) at the same time.

In 8th grade, I was so rapt by Of Mice and Men that I read it walking home from school. My walk home from school was a mile down one of south Brooklyn's busier industrial streets.
posted by griphus at 5:34 PM on September 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


OH MY GOD I HAVE TO APOLOGIZE TO A STRANGER ON THE INTERNETS NOW

no fuck that i won't and you can't make me


Metafilter: Not elizardbits' real dad.
posted by howfar at 5:35 PM on September 22, 2012 [34 favorites]


I've broken my fair share of dishes by emptying the dishwasher whilst reading.
posted by arcticseal at 5:36 PM on September 22, 2012


Yes, mother dear, all books emit an artificial glow when you open them. /eye roll.
posted by Brocktoon at 5:40 PM on September 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


My new kindle does.
posted by TwelveTwo at 5:41 PM on September 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, mother dear, all books emit an artificial glow when you open them. /eye roll.

I'm concerned that you find this the least convincing ruse out of the set.
posted by howfar at 5:43 PM on September 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


I read it walking home from school.

I used to, and still do, read while walking all the time. I also used to read while riding my bike up until my sophomore year of college, when I fell off and cheese-grated a good chunk of arm away on the sidewalk.

I gave that up, but I still read while showering. So far I've wisely resisted the urge to read while driving, but I do listen to audiobooks.
posted by DU at 5:53 PM on September 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


this kills the phone.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:56 PM on September 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


griphus: "In 8th grade, I was so rapt by Of Mice and Men that I read it walking home from school."

I read while walking home from school from middle school on through high school. It made the trip much more interesting plus it gave me an excuse to ignore the catcalls and bullying.
posted by deborah at 6:19 PM on September 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


The ending is really quite profound. Teenagers want to feel like they're cool and special and new, like phones as compared to their boring peers who they compare to old books. But then in a few years they find out they're really just their parents.

Anyway this made me LOL.
posted by bleep at 6:33 PM on September 22, 2012


I had to use an ice cube on my reading light

What the -- I mean, how did this work exactly? What became of the cube? How did you get it to your room? What about the water?

(Mainly I'm just jealous that I never thought of this, and still can't figure out how it would work.)
posted by trip and a half at 6:41 PM on September 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tricking your parents into thinking you're using the bathroom, when you're actually masturbating.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:45 PM on September 22, 2012 [12 favorites]


What the -- I mean, how did this work exactly? What became of the cube? How did you get it to your room? What about the water?

I think I only used this once or twice. My bedside lamp had a metal shroud that my mom would feel to see if I'd been reading longer than I should have been, because it got super hot very fast. If she just came up the stairs suddenly, obviously I had no way to get an ice cube. But if they'd been out and drove back up, I had time to run downstairs, grab an ice cube, cool the lamp, wipe the water, (eat the rest of the cube? toss it in the trash?) and pretend to sleep.

Or maybe I had a glass of ice water sitting there waiting for that eventuality? No, I doubt I'd thought ahead that far.
posted by DU at 6:55 PM on September 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


Tricking your parents into thinking you're using the bathroom, when you're actually masturbating.

Tricking your parents into thinking you're masturbating, when you're actually reading Atlas Shrugged.
posted by howfar at 7:02 PM on September 22, 2012 [12 favorites]


Tricking your parents into thinking you're reading Atlas Shrugged, when really you've surrendered your reality to the parents to whom you are lying, making those parents your master, condemning yourself from then on to faking the sort of reality that your parents' view requires to be faked.
posted by drlith at 7:09 PM on September 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


Is this the first meme-poem?
posted by idiopath at 7:28 PM on September 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Are any parents really fooled by a teenager who spends an hour in the bathroom?
posted by maxwelton at 7:30 PM on September 22, 2012


It's mine and I'll wash it as fast as I like.
posted by howfar at 7:31 PM on September 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


My kid demanded I read her a Neil Gaiman book tonight.

/slightly smug.
posted by Artw at 8:09 PM on September 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Are any parents really fooled by a teenager who spends an hour in the bathroom?

Happy family life depends a lot on successful denial.
posted by Miko at 8:09 PM on September 22, 2012 [14 favorites]


> Are any parents really fooled by a teenager who spends an hour in the bathroom?

I am female and usually had my own bedroom, but: an hour?
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:50 PM on September 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


It wasn't my eye roll. This thing, the eye roll, the kids do it these days.
posted by Brocktoon at 8:56 PM on September 22, 2012


OK. Now that my dearest darling baby girl will be turning three this thursday, we have established that despite my wife's cool and aloof demeanor, Momma is the softiest of softies and happy, funny Daddy is the man who counts to three to get stuff done, and therefore the enemy when she's mildly irritated.

Her best buddy in the whole wide world...

...is now being driven to Boston daily for super-expensive Harvard-approved preschool rather than regular pre-school, but apart from him...

...is a little blue Bunny toy. She loves taking her and books into her bed for naps.

"Shh! Bunny! I read it to you! Don't tell Daddy, he gives you time-out!"

And then she reads the books to her Bunny as best as she can remember them.

I don't know where to go with this...
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:02 PM on September 22, 2012 [8 favorites]


Yes, mother dear, all books emit an artificial glow when you open them. /eye roll.

Robin Sloan's book will!
posted by limeonaire at 9:12 PM on September 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


tricking your mom into believing you're not hiding from your dad

when he's really drunk
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 9:20 PM on September 22, 2012


Daddy is the man who counts to three to get stuff done

If you make it to three, you've already lost.
posted by pompomtom at 9:26 PM on September 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is reddit leaking?
posted by sid at 9:40 PM on September 22, 2012 [9 favorites]


There should have been a "hello this is dog" meme somewhere in there. Those get me every time.

Is reddit leaking?

You know how we used to have Friday flash? I think we should have "meme Mondays" where post all the newest memes. Benghazi Muslim and iOS 6 maps fail are the meme of now, but there is already a backlash against those so by Monday there will be something new.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:37 PM on September 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


BRAAAAAAHHHHMMMMMMMM
posted by NoraReed at 10:44 PM on September 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Stahp human.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:52 PM on September 22, 2012


It was an arms race between me and my mother. I discovered she could tell I was up reading if there was light coming from under my door, so I learned to stuff clothes up against the bottom to block any light from escaping. She discovered I was doing this and so I started using a flashlight under the blankets until she started heavily regulating the spare batteries. I ended up winning when I discovered the light of my alarmclock was enough to read by if I held it close enough to the page of my book.
posted by HMSSM at 11:05 PM on September 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


My mom told me if you stayed up it three reading you'd become schizophrenic.

I think she was just really tired.
posted by The Whelk at 11:16 PM on September 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


benito.strauss: "Yeah, where's "Tricking your parents into thinking you're outside enjoying this beautiful weather that won't last forever, you know"?"

What is this outside you speak of? I have heard of such things.
posted by Samizdata at 11:34 PM on September 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


howfar: "Tricking your parents into thinking you're using the bathroom, when you're actually masturbating.

Tricking your parents into thinking you're masturbating, when you're actually reading Atlas Shrugged.
"

There's a difference?
posted by Samizdata at 11:37 PM on September 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Would it be bad to mention I used to use the World Book Encyclopedias at the top of the stairs as snowshoes when I would sneak in late to my room which had the creakiest pine tongue and groove flooring right above my parent's bedroom?
posted by Samizdata at 11:40 PM on September 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


Flashlight, under the blanket with several layers of kleenex over the lens so it was a dim glow not visible under said blankets. That and a squeaky floor board just outside my bedroom meant many a late night reading sessons
posted by [insert clever name here] at 12:38 AM on September 23, 2012


I think I only used this once or twice. My bedside lamp had a metal shroud that my mom would feel to see if I'd been reading longer than I should have been, because it got super hot very fast. If she just came up the stairs suddenly, obviously I had no way to get an ice cube. But if they'd been out and drove back up, I had time to run downstairs, grab an ice cube, cool the lamp, wipe the water, (eat the rest of the cube? toss it in the trash?) and pretend to sleep.

Or maybe I had a glass of ice water sitting there waiting for that eventuality? No, I doubt I'd thought ahead that far.


Would it make me a bad parent, if, when I have children, I just let them read as long as they want to? I mean.. obviously they're going to do it anyway, and at least they're home doing something productive.
posted by Malice at 1:47 AM on September 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


I just had horibble psychotic nightmares about the Bomb until my parents let me sleep with the light on and then I could read all night long if I wanted to (and often did)...
posted by MartinWisse at 2:11 AM on September 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


I had a tiny bedroom as a kid, my parents cleverly set it up so that my bed sat on top of a desk and some shelving so it was up close to the ceiling (oh sure now you can buy beds like that from ikea, but then we had to cobble it together ourselves) It was impossible to reach the light switch from bed, though, so to turn out the light quickly and hide the fact that I was up reading waaaay past bedtime (imagine being a little kid with insomnia, it's a particularly intense type of hellish boredom) I had an unbent coathanger that I could turn the light out with. Unfortunately, the switch also had an outlet beside it, and once in trying to turn on the light in the middle of the night, I somehow made contact with whatever was plugged into that outlet. Luckily, being in bed up by the ceiling, I wasn't grounded, but the sparks and loud cracking noise were pretty impressive. It melted the coathanger in half, and left a black scorch mark around the plug. After that my parents gave up and let me have a reading lamp up beside my bed, presumably to prevent me from electocuting myself in the pusuit of literature.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 2:49 AM on September 23, 2012 [16 favorites]


Ok. Looks like tomorrow's meme will be grumpycat
posted by Ad hominem at 3:09 AM on September 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


My parents gave up trying to control my nocturnal reading activities when they discovered I slept with dozens of books under my covers.
posted by HFSH at 4:40 AM on September 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


For a couple of years as a kid (7-9) I slept on the top bed of a bunk-bed with a metal frame, and had to read hanging slightly over the side to get the light that came through the edge of the door. I chipped half my front tooth off when I somehow knocked into the bedrail diving into fake-sleep position when my parents came down the corridor to check on us.

Malice: honestly, I barely have the self-discipline to stop reading at 3am now. I really don't know how well it would have gone if I'd been free to read all night as a kid. I occasionally got in trouble for reading during school assemblies or during class as well.
posted by jacalata at 5:18 AM on September 23, 2012


I occasionally got in trouble for reading during school assemblies or during class as well.

And this concludes our latest installment of "what the hell is wrong with the Anerican educational system?"
posted by Alexander Hatchell at 5:45 AM on September 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


It might, if I'd been in an American educational system.
posted by jacalata at 6:52 AM on September 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


Would it make me a bad parent, if, when I have children, I just let them read as long as they want to? I mean.. obviously they're going to do it anyway, and at least they're home doing something productive.

My parents would get on my case for "reading too much". But looking back I understand their concerns. It is possible to be too wrapped up in your reading, to lose yourself in a book. Homework, chores, exercise, being social, etc. I guess it depends on how well you balance the other parts of your life. Too much of one thing, yes—even books, can be a bad thing.
posted by Fizz at 8:57 AM on September 23, 2012


I was fortunate enough to have a strong nightlight plugged in right next to my bed. Of course, the tell was the fact that my head and shoulders were on the floor and my face was wearing a book when my parents woke me up for school in the mornings.

It didn't seem to harm my eyes too much but I never learned to put down a book, a harm that manifested decades later, when I secured a job with a lawyer a block from where I lived on the corner of Harvard and Commonwealth in Boston. It was an ideal part-time job for a freshly-minted lawyer. On my first day, I was 3/4 through William Gibson's Neuromancer. I sat in my new office, surrounded by files and could not put that book down. So I did the only reasonable thing: I quit 30 minutes into my first day so I could go home and finish the damn book.
posted by Jezebella at 9:13 AM on September 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


I occasionally got in trouble for reading during school assemblies or during class as well.

And this concludes our latest installment of "what the hell is wrong with the Anerican educational system?"


Not sure that it's yet fully established as bad educational practice to expect children to attend to their lessons.
posted by howfar at 9:23 AM on September 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


> Would it make me a bad parent, if, when I have children, I just let them read as long as they want to?

That's what I do, so: yes.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:45 AM on September 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


> What the -- I mean, how did this work exactly? What became of the cube? How did you get it to your room?
> What about the water?


As somebody else who had to do this, and did:

> What became of the cube?

It melts, and (eventually) turns into a whole ice cube's worth of water. Unless you panic like the spy with the incriminating microfilm and the suicide pill and swallow it.

> How did you get it to your room?

Simplest and most innocent-looking way is just to get yourself a glass of water (with ice) and take it to your bedroom right before what your silly parents think is your bedtime.

> What about the water?

It drips. And since it's in your hand as you hold it against the bulb the melt runs over your fingers and drips kind of unpredictably. You can wad up some TP or a paper towel and put that where the drip mostly lands. This works until the first time you get busted for the ice-cube trick, but after that your parental unit knows what that mysterious wad of TP is for. Or if you happen to have a baby turtle habitat with water in it that also lives on your bedside table (make sure it does!) you're in fat city.

NB! There is a downside that's worth mentioning. An incandescent bulb, even a little nightlight-size one, is hot. Holding an ice cube against it may cause it to unexpectedly EXPLODE into a bajillion pieces, and the resulting water-aided shortout may trip the circuit breaker for the entire back hall, which includes your bedroom and the bathroom, and throw everything into Stygian darkness while your older sister, who is still up, is taking her bath.

All things considered (even including the suffocation) a flashlight under the covers is probably the better solution.


> My kid demanded I read her a Neil Gaiman book tonight.
>
> /slightly smug.
> posted by Artw at 11:09 PM on September 22 [+] [!]

17 votes for Neverwhere. (But we'd be happy with Coraline too.)
posted by jfuller at 1:06 PM on September 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Day I Swapped My Dad for Three Goldfish.

Coraline's a thought though. She'll be ready for that and The Graveyard Book before too long.
posted by Artw at 1:24 PM on September 23, 2012


Gaiman's kids stuff, BTW, is EXCELLENT for reading out loud. I have opinions on this stuff now - if you're going to read it 50 times it better be something that translates well into a good performance and not some cardboard prose hacked out on a work for hire deal based on some crappy license.

/glances at awful Disney princess books that say a lot of play when she was 3-4.

(On a side note, the works of Jack Kirby are great in this regard. Vocabulary expanding, too.)
posted by Artw at 1:28 PM on September 23, 2012


Fizz: "Too much of one thing, yes—even books, can be a bad thing."

Burn him!
posted by deborah at 1:54 PM on September 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


Holding an ice cube against it may cause it to unexpectedly EXPLODE into a bajillion pieces

This was my first thought and I can't believe this would work even once. It seems like a very bad idea. And so much easier just to grab a flashlight. Also, any parent can pretty much tell the difference between a child that was really just asleep and a child that's been reading in bed.

I used to read Nancy Drews late into the night wen I was 9 or 10, and some of them - with kidnappers and burglars - would get me really freaked out. I'd start to imagine I heard break-ins in the house. 2 or 3 in the morning. And I would go hover near my parents' bedroom door and wonder whether I should wake them up. Once or twice I did and got a firm "Go back to bed and stop. reading."
posted by Miko at 8:21 PM on September 23, 2012


My proudest parental achievement: on an almost daily basis I have to berate my daughter to put her book down long enough to do something, anything else. So far today (and it's only 9 am) I had to tell her to stop reading and get dressed, stop reading and wipe her butt, stop reading and eat breakfast, and stop reading and get in the car for school. She's the best.
posted by latkes at 9:05 AM on September 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


The best is the sad, sad girl who 01) spent all that time putting on eye makeup for an internets photo only to 02) "actually read" her book upside down.

She might be actually reading her book upside down. I can read almost as quickly upside down as I can do normally (though it hurts my eyes after a while).
posted by mippy at 10:09 AM on September 25, 2012


My parents let me stay up reading as late as I wanted to.

I believe it was a compromise to stop me raising holy hell about Bedtime.

I didn't get in the habit of reading till the wee hours until middle school at least. And that was mostly because I started reading scary stuff, and my choices were A) keep reading don't stop just keep the light on and the book open and then nothing bad can happen, or B) CERTAIN DEATH.

When I was seven and it was just Little Women, I'm pretty sure I was out by 9:30. But it felt horribly grown up to have No Bedtime and as many books as I wanted.
posted by Sara C. at 6:32 PM on September 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


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