Minority Opinions

Not everyone can be mainstream, after all.

Illegible Packaging

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My office includes people of many cultures. Something Chinese Occasionally, some of them will travel to other countries for business or personal reasons.  Judging by the contents of the break room table, someone recently brought something home from China.

Unfortunately, I neither speak nor read Chinese.  Perhaps I should, but both the characters and the tones intimidate me.  The boxes contain some English, but part of it mentions “wonderful stories” and another part says it was produced by a food company.  Each of the little boxes, which probably came out of the big box, has a picture of two cubes and some other kind of food.  So what could they contain?

I’m guessing candy, but I’m not certain enough to open one and put it in my mouth.  After all, the cubes look a bit more like soap.  Then again, the “stories” might well be literal; packages don’t always contain what they picture.

I rarely feel illiterate, so this was a taught me a bit of how my children must feel.  Our kindergartner has been feeling frustrated about reading, doesn’t have any sense of how important it is, and doesn’t want to practice.  Digraphs are a daily slog, and the difference between “R” and “L” is torture.

We won’t give up, though.  I didn’t marry one of the smartest people I’ve met just to raise illiterate children.  I may read code more often than books, but variable names and documentation are still largely in English.  Add that to emails, blogs, comic strips, recipes, legal forms, software menus, video game text, street signs, product labels, and dozens of minor words scattered throughout daily life, and I probably don’t spend ten waking minutes without reading at least one word somewhere.

There was once a time when everything you needed to know could be taught verbally.  We no longer live in such a time.  Reading is fundamental.


Written by eswald

1 Oct 2013 at 10:07 pm

Posted in Lifestyle

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