Friday, February 24, 2012


Hi, everyone! Welcome to another edition of Ask-a-Dude!

Remember, you can ask your own questions using the submission form on the right!

Here's today's question:

Q: How can I get my teen boy to read more?

A: I addressed this question in an earlier post. But apparently we still have a problem because my post didn't get hand-delivered to every teen boy in America like I EXPLICITLY DEMANDED! Honestly, if you want a job done right do it yourself. Alternatively, change the job description until it perfectly matches what you've been doing since you got hired.

In thinking about this question again I decided to attack the problem from a different angle. I looked myself in the mirror and asked the Ryan Gosling look-a-like staring back at me, “Hey guy, what can you tell me about getting people hooked on stuff?” His answer? "Talk to an addiction specialist." Brilliant! Sexy and smart. Dammit, me, you've done it again!

So I went to the only addiction specialist I know, a local meth dealer named One Leg Cletus (on account of his brother, also named Cletus, has two legs and it just cuts down on confusion). Cletus agreed with Mirror Ryan Gosling that reading should be treated like an addiction, one you want your kid to acquire. Then he started ranting about 9/11 being an inside job and how Mel Gibson is so misunderstood. When he asked me if I was a cop I said yes just to get out of there.

But he did give me one bit of advice he'd learned from his line of work: first one's free, tell your friends.

Useful, but not enough. Which got me thinking. I was a teen boy once, I know what they like. How can we get teen guys hooked on books? Here's what I came up with.

In answer to your question, disembodied asker, below are ten ways to get your teen boy to read more:
  • Whenever you buy him a book from Amazon, instead of choosing the paperback or Kindle option, always select the “Print to Kate Upton's Bikini” format.
  • Try Madlibs: Hey, [insert his favorite sports team] has a new superstition! To win the next game, fans must read [insert book he might like]. Anyone who doesn't read the book will be held personally responsible for the loss by [insert favorite goalie/quarterback/seeker].
  • Using a firm voice and good eye contact, wave your hand in front of his face and say, “these ARE the books you're looking for!”
  • Invent a previously unknown Uncle Chuck. Uncle Chuck travels extensively as a Navy SEAL and writes frequent, thrill-a-minute letters about his dangerous missions (for added authenticity, black out random sentences to make it look like his letters have been redacted for security reasons). Uncle Chuck also sends pictures of himself standing next to beautiful women in exotic locations (you can use the pictures that come pre-loaded in frames from Bed, Bath & Beyond). One day, Uncle Chuck casually mentions that real men read books. Your work here is done.
  • Learn to cook Turbooken. That's a book, wrapped inside a chicken, wrapped inside a duck, wrapped inside a turkey. Naw, I'm just messin' with ya! Just fry up some paperbacks in hog fat.
  • Stop calling them books. Refer to them only as “mucho sexy bringers.”
  • Tell him Call of Duty will unlock a secret level for every book he reads. (Note: this will only work if he actually gets to unlock a new level. Learn to code.)
  • Ninjas. Just ninjas. Don't say anything more. Option One: he thinks the book is about ninjas, in which case he'll read it in a couple of sittings. Option Two: he fears if he doesn't read the book he'll be marked for death by ninja assassins (in which case he'll read it in one).
  • Mention that studies show girls find well-read guys more attractive. Give him a stack of paperbacks. While he's reading, replace all the mirrors in your house with GQ covers of Ryan Gosling.
  • Forbid reading.
Well, I think that's a good start. Until I can bail Cletus out of jail and get some more of his stellar ideas, tell us your suggestions in the comments or let me know on Twitter (@copil)!

See you next month!


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