I've been a reader as long as I can remember. In fact, some of my strongest early childhood memories are of the books I read, specific words I associate with certain books, even the couch I sat on.

Not only do I enjoy reading, but I've made reading my professional business, too. So I read a lot. But I've never thought of myself as a particularly compulsive reader, one of those people who says they would read the cereal box if stranded without a text.

But apparently I have more of such compulsions than I'd realized. Because when those darn captcha word verification blocks show up on the blogs I comment on, I puzzle over them. Some of that is my limited graphical recognition ability -- the squished-up Vs look to me like Us and I often am asked to re-verify my identity with another nonsense word. But I just now was faced with ruwuzidn and couldn't help trying to read it as if it were a vanity license plate: Are You Wazzup Dean? Are You What's Hidden? Are You Woozy Down?

I once lived in a state which offered vanity plates at an extremely low price, so that everywhere you looked you were faced with these puzzling word games. But at least you could usually assume that there was a meaning in there somewhere.

What do you suppose is the cumulative subliminal effect of being forced to read and reproduce strings of nonsense many times a day?