Learn After Reading: What I’ve Learned From Fiction

– You may think you have met the person of your dreams, but keep in mind there’s a chance they have a spouse locked in the attic. Also – never date anyone whose origin story is sketchy. You’ll find out later, most likely after the two of you have wed, that you’re related.

– Disobeying grownups will lead to fun, magical adventures and/or crime-solving.

– Don’t buy ghosts on the internet. If you do, you deserve everything you get.

– If you attend a baseball game, you will most likely be struck by a fly ball. And possibly killed.

– RE: time travel: Monkeying with the past will cause nothing but trouble in the future.

– Don’t help people wearing casts load things into the back of their vans: It’s a trick. The next thing you know – BAM! You’re locked in their basement. “Sorry, Nana, but you’re going to have to wait until your hip heals and move that bureau yourself.”

– When you’re trapped in a remote location with an unknown serial murderer, check the victims again – one of them isn’t really dead.

– Rhyming creatures carrying plates of food have no respect for your personal space.

– Take the first syllables from the last name of your high school vice principal, the third most populated city in the state you live in, and the brand of toothpaste you use. Mash them together. There – you now have a name for your vampire baby.

– If you scuba dive, you will get the bends and die. I first learned this in junior high from a Nancy Drew book. Not one of the original Nancy Drew books, but the revamped series, where murders are the subject of investigations instead of missing clocks, and Nancy and her friends look kinda skanky on the covers.

– Redheads are either best friends, villains, or objects of lust. Woe is the person who has a lusty redheaded best friend who turns out to be a villain!

– Never eat anything you didn’t prepare yourself. Never drink anything you didn’t pour. Stay the hell away from the sugar bowl.

– A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have.

– You are more special than everyone else, and only you can save the world. Or someone else’s world. Be patient – eventually, an owl or an alien or some other anthropomorphic creature will arrive and tell you your true destiny. (I once thought a porcupine had come to our back porch to tell me something important. Turns out it just had distemper.)

– Don’t wear stirrup pants to gym class. Oh, wait, that one I unfortunately learned on my own in fifth grade.

– Where the wild things are. (If you want to know, too, send me $5 and a self-addressed stamped envelope.)


Liberty Hardy is a bookseller at RiverRun bookstore in Portsmouth, N.H. and runs Write Place, Write Time. Follow her on Twitter:  @MissLiberty