So many people keep asking me: “DyslexicAtheist, are you really dyslexic?”
I guess it started already when I was a kid. My parents noticed that there was something wrong because I’d always rearrange the letters in the alphabet soup the wrong way.
They brought me to the doctor to find out. But back in the 80ies even doctors weren’t sure what to make of me. My condition wasn’t really known to the mainstream. Scared that I’d grow up to become the village idiot, my mum kept feeding me even more alphabet soup.
Other kids were told not to play with their food. But my parents encouraged me to play with the letters in hope my spelling might improve. They tried everything, even Alphabetti Spaghetti.
My mum in her loving nature, prepared me a lunch box for school every morning. But I hated that. All other kids had this really cool lunch box. Usually a pokemon or power-rangers container. But mine was just an old scrabble box. It took up all the room in my rucksack. It was also far too much to eat for one boy, as she made everything in the shape of German words like “Höchstgeschwindigkeitsbegrenzung”, and using bold typesetting (presumably to emphasize the fact that I shouldn’t forget to eat).
My only friend was the fat girl. Kids called her Rhabarbabarbara because her name was Barbara and she loved rhubarb. She was big and a bully. Like me, she didn’t fit in (also literally). I think she became even bigger from eating those long words my mum had made.
Guess there’s no need to spell it out for you: My life wasn’t easy.
We had this old women in the neighbourhood, living in an old house alone, with an even older cat. People said she was a witch. Rumour was that she would put a spell on any kid coming near her haunted property.
But I never came near her property. Even if I wanted to, I hadn’t reached puberty yet. Also I felt this would be an inappropriate thing to do near an old ladies house.
Unlike the other kids I wasn’t scared of the old lady. Not that I was brave or anything but I simply knew that due to my illiteracy, spells wouldn’t work anyway.
One kid said she was making love with the devil every night. This was such a stupid thing to say, because everyone knows Santa only comes once a year through the chimney and not in some old lady. And what even if she was a Santa-worshipper, everyone loves Christmas!
Actually I felt sorry for the old lady and hated the other kids being mean to her.
So I decided to visit her one day and I walked up to her porch after school and knocked on her old door. She invited me in and offered me cookies and milk. They were delicious. Heavenly so! No this was clearly not the devils work.
She told me many stories and we became good friends. After I befriended her my life became really good as the other kids would now finally leave me alone. I told her all about my problems with dyslexia and being so sick of alphabet soup. She listened patiently to all I said. After I finished, she quietly got up from her rocking chair and fetched a packet of the same soup from her kitchen. “Is this the soup you’re eating all the time?” she asked. Baffled I said: “yes! That’s the one”.
“My dear child”, she said, “I don’t believe you’re dyslexic at all”.
“No my silly! It’s the consumption of this soup which is causing you to start spelling incorrectly. You see its a side effect of globalization. All this imported stuff from other nations. They don’t have our Umlauts in their products. Have you never noticed that Alphabetti Spaghetti lacks all the beautiful “ä” and “ö” and “ü” and “ß”, which are so crucial to our German language? This is why these foreign brands are so cheap.”
I was sceptical at first, but then she told me more about it:
“I used to work for a big German publishing firm. We employed the best writers in the country. I wasn’t a writer but I worked as a chef in their canteen. One day the company was taken over by Rupert Murdoch. During a cost cutting effort, all alphabet soup was now being delivered from a non German supplier. 6 months later nobody who ate from us could spell any longer. Accountants would complain about numeric dyslexia. Our writers only delivering gibberish. The soup even drove us into bankruptcy! Maybe it was done on purpose by Murdoch, who knows …. One thing I do know: If you eat soup without umlauts your German will suffer!”
And this my friends is the story of my condition. To answer your question, whether “I am really dyslexic”: You are what you eat! And so if life hands you Melons, make lemonade!