America's Most Critical Journal (since 1999)
Harry Reid Still Can't Read
By Jason Half Pillow
14 February 2015
RENO – Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid continues to recuperate from his eye injury incurred several weeks ago and called a press conference in his Capitol Hill office to discuss his progress.
“It doesn’t hurt as much as it did the day after the accident,” he said. “So I’m off the synthetic opiates. But still, it’s a real bitch.”
Reid told reporters the most difficult thing about the injury is that he has been unable to read.
“I love reading,” he claimed. “I am voracious. I will read anything: Westerns, Farm Policy Abstracts, Kant, Greek Eroticism, Vice-Presidential biographies, Melville, anything, really. Hand me a menu, and I’ll read the whole thing.”
Reid said that as a young boy he was so enthusiastic about reading that he would often finish a book before the end of quiet reading time in school and immediate rip another from a classmate’s hands.
“They didn’t like reading as much as I did,” he said, “so their books were rightfully mine.”
Reid said that swiping books from other students taught him the value of self-defense.
“They lashed out. Not so much at losing the book, but more the sheer shock of having it ripped from their hands. It was a visceral thing,” he said.
The beatings he took after swiping other kids’ books was why his mom made him take up boxing.
“She said if you’re gonna swipe books, then you’d better be able to fight,” Reid said. Reid said he expressed interest in Judo, but that his mom wouldn’t allow it.
“She was deeply prejudiced against all things Japanese and more or less extended the prejudice to anything remotely Asian,” the new Minority leader said.
Reid explained that his mother grew up out west during the war, and was a big fan of Roosevelt for interring the Japanese and was disappointed that he didn’t do it to other groups she didn’t like either.
“Like the Jews,” Reid said.
Reid mastered boxing, a sport in which he eventually became regional champion, albeit in a pretty sparsely populated outpost of rural Nevada. The first crown he took was from a girl.
“It was a lot harder than it sounds,” Reid said. “She was a ranch girl and plenty tough from bailing hay. I’m sure none of you could take her.”
Reid said that he loved boxing but reading was still his thing. He said his doctors told him that reading with one eye would strain it too much and cause piercing headaches.
“They warned they could actually be agonizing,” Reid told reporters. “Worse than Joan Didion type headaches. She likes to read too. Not a big boxing fan but likes to read.”
Reid said he’s been listening to a lot of books on tape while he recovers.
“It’s good but not the same. I’m listened all last night to Blood Meridian on tape, and really lost track of the story, not so much because of Cormac’s meandering, Faulkneresque sentences, but because the person reading it had such a gratingly high and squeaky voice.”
Reid indicated the experience kept him up all night.
“Not at all relaxing,” he said.
Reid is such a reader that he was listening to something on headphones and laughing as reporters filed in.
“That was something by Eldridge Cleaver being read by a woman with an Irish accent,” he said. “Something called ‘Soul on Ice’ that Michelle Obama recommended. Biden recommended it to, but I think he just liked all the dirty words.”
He said Soul on Ice was no Lonesome Dove, but was still pretty good.
“Definitely in my top two hundred and fifty,” Reid said.
Reid said he has been reading up to three books a day, along with five magazines cover to cover, since he was eight, so being in his top 250 is an honor.
“Lonesome Dove is in my top one hundred and thirty six,” he said. “But I’ll read anything by Duvall.”
“He used to read garbage he’d find on the street on his way to school,” his aunt said.
“Weird kid. Started beating up girls in the fifth grade too. Really weird.”
Asked about working with the new Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Reid said he plans on voting no on everything right away, so he’ll have more reading time.
Reid has been reticent regarding details of the accident, insisting that it was a fluke mishap involving something he did while exercising with huge rubber straps. There was speculation that he hurt his eye on a Bow-Flex, but Reid’s office attributed those rumors to the Republican National Committee. Reid’s name recently showed up on a civil suit filed against Chuck Norris’s company, “Total Gym” in a Nevada circuit court, but Reid claims the two are totally unrelated.
Reid’s lawyers filed papers with the court that appear to substantiate the denial, as they show Reid seeking $5 million from Norris, but only for “emotional damages and psychological distress.” There is no mention of an eye injury at all.
“His ad promised me a body that I didn’t end up getting,” Reid said.
Reid also said the operator who took his phone order for Norris’s Total Gym responded that he could when Reid asked if he could read while using the device, like he was doing at the time on his stair stepper. Reid claims the woman spoke “in a faintly foreign accent of some sort.”
Chuck Norris was not available for comment. A spokeswoman for Norris said in a prepared statement to journalists outside a Reno Ophthalmologist office,
“If Harry Reid spent as much time addressing the problems facing America as he does reading then maybe there’d be few less heads being lopped off all over the internet and more Americans would be getting back to work.”
She took no questions.
Jason Half-Pillow lives in Vicenza, Italy, where the people speak Italian in what sounds to be a Swedish accent.