Keith Stumpler of Tampa has forgotten how to read.
“I was someplace and a show was on TV in the bar. It was too loud to hear so they had the subtitles turned on. I looked at them to follow the story and realized I didn’t know what all the squiggly characters were and what they were supposed to mean,” he said. “I used to know how to read but somewhere along the way, I guess I just kind of forgot.”
He started thumbing through a book to demonstrate.
“Nope. Nothing,” he said happily.
He’s surprisingly unbothered by this development, the loss of an ability he began cultivating as a young child and developing through adulthood.
“I look at it as the next step in evolution,” he said, shrugging. “Kind of like how we don’t have tails anymore. We used to, I think, but one day our brains woke up and said, ‘hey, who needs those?’ and we stopped having them. I’m kind of a missing link, I guess you could say!”
“It makes sense, when you think about what a great job television, and now the even-better internet, do of telling us everything we need to know,” he said. “When it’s all laid out for me in easy-to-process knowledge modules, why would I need to waste my time reading more about something?”
He said he’s not worried about losing other abilities.
“I can still perform other functions. The really important ones, like algebra,” he said. “I totally know how to solve for the little symbol with two straight lines crossing each other, whatever that’s called.”