Hey, Man, I Totally Get It; I'd Watch A 2-Hour 'Biggest Loser' Special, TooCommentary • Opinion • ISSUE 47•10 • Mar 10, 2011 By A Collection Of Nabokov's Short Stories So, remember how you said earlier that you wanted to devote at least an hour to reading me tonight? Listen, I know you're really tired and everything, and I just want to say, don't worry about it. You can jump in another night. I completely understand—and frankly, I can't say I blame you.I'm a pretty challenging read!Hey, you've been following the show for months, after all, so it would be a shame for you to miss tonight's special two-hour Biggest Loser event. No, really, don't sweat it. Who am I to begrudge you enjoying what may, in retrospect, turn out to be a pivotal moment in season 11?I'm just a collection of 65 short stories originally written in Russian, French, and English more than half a century ago by the masterful prose stylist Vladimir Nabokov. You can read me anytime. I'm not going anywhere.And how often does something like tonight's show come along?Look, I totally get the appeal of the show. I do. There's a clearly defined premise, drama, the struggle to better oneself, no extensive treatments of the poetological implications of potustoronnost, and it's guaranteed to reach an exciting conclusion in two hours flat. It's a genuinly entertaining show with an addictive premise.So, really, why should you feel bad about enjoying it? You work 40 or 50 hours a week at a job that's not exactly thrilling, and you're supposed to feel guilty because you'd rather spend the last hours of your hellishly long day watching The Biggest Loser instead of struggling to understand "Spring in Fialta"?Honestly, I'd choose that show over me, too.Don't get me wrong—I'm definitely worth reading. But there's no denying I'm a pretty serious time commitment. Even if you started me right now, there's no telling when or if you'd finish. You could spend weeks or even months deciphering my complex metaphors for transformation and individualism, but tonight it's just nice to know you can turn on your television and hear Jillian Michaels say, "I believe in you, so why can't you believe in yourself?"Real-life people step on a scale and either reach their goal weight or come pretty close. You have to admit there's something satisfying in that simple conceit: People focus, work really hard, lose weight, and everybody feels good about it. You don't have to struggle with any ambiguity; it's all right there.Given entertainment options like that, I'm kind of impressed you're still this determined to read me at all.Regardless, whenever you're ready, I'll be sitting on the old bookshelf. Except for when you've moved me to your bedside table in an effort to remind yourself to read me. Then I'll be there for a few days until I get kicked under the bed. Who knows? Maybe this summer you'll have some time to kill and you'll get into "Mademoiselle O." In that one, Nabokov details life with a French mistress, blurring the line between being and perception and—Oh, what am I harassing you for? You already know I possess literary merit. That's my thing, but I don't want to burden you with that. Not when, at this very moment, The Biggest Loser is still anyone's game to win, the grand prize up for grabs by whoever is willing to participate in a series of grueling trials that inevitably leads them to realize they are the only ones who can control their destiny.Do you think you're the first educated person to choose reality TV over a series of long, exhaustive nights desperately trying to grasp whatever it is Nabokov was going for in "The Wood-Sprite"?It's okay—I wasn't written to be lightly perused by the casual reader. And please don't hesitate to put me down if you want to catch the repeat of that one where Jillian makes Kendra cry over something that wasn't even her fault.How unbelievable was that, seriously?And let me be honest here: I may, as a volume, be a reminder "that we are in the presence of a magnificent original, a genuine master," but it's not like I'm Lolita or anything. If you absolutely have to get a taste of Nabokov—and I'm not saying you do—they made a movie of that one. It's pretty much the same thing. So check that out, if you want.Anyhow, watch your show. There's no shame in it, champ. No shame at all. Enjoy.