My Jane Austen Summer

“…my boss caught me reading Northanger Abbey in my cubicle, my lunch hour so far in the past that even the fumes from my tuna sandwich were history.  Phones, copiers, and printers resumed business while I danced in Bath.  I made a show of tidying my lunch bag while my boss counted the five other novels stacked in my corner.  “You’ve been busy,” he said.  Then, using his chainsaw voice, he informed me that I’d cost the company over ninety-two thousand dollars misrouting payroll tax deposits.  As my boss explained termination benefits, it occurred to me that books should come with a warning from the Surgeon General:  Literature can be dangerous to your mental health and should be indulged in moderation.  Read in excess, fiction may blur the line between fantasy and reality, causing dysfunction in personal and professional relationships.  Readers should refrain while operating heavy machinery or driving automobiles.  Or working in offices.”