After you've finished your tofu salad and dropped your plastic green tea with ginkgo bottle in the recycling bin, you get this brilliant idea to learn a new language. You are ill with the concept of the "ignorant American." After all, why should everyone else have to learn English, while you sit around eating Doritos?

So your brain whirs. Books? Tapes? or Books on tape? Whatever's there. You need to feel good, and quick...before you start craving a burger and a shake, before you avoid eye contact with that homeless guy on the corner.

And off you go to the bookstore to pick out the language and the book with the most interesting cover. Maybe the book with the hemp cover and handmade pages will be especially effective in teaching you...Yagawak.

You shell out the $16.95, sans pocket lint for a book essentially made of pocket lint. You go home and sit up in your bed with a notebook labeled "Yagawak" under your name in the upper right-hand corner, a blue highlighter, and a pencil. You decide to read the book's introduction, which you normally never do, and you highlight the part on the origin of Yagawak and its special pronounciations.

An hour goes by and you stretch. Then you put the book on the shelf, with all your other "books to read ASAP," making a mental constitution to study for an hour a day. At least.

The next day rolls around, but you have homework to do.

The next day is laundry day.

And the next is Friday. Who wants to study on a Friday?

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