With Apologies to Dr. Seuss

In looking back on things, I’m especially grateful that my parents were really good about reading to me when I was a kid.  In large part, I’m sure that was because they valued the importance of the written word but it may have also had something to do with the fact that we didn’t have VCR’s, DVD players, X-Boxes, Play Stations, or The Wii when I was a kid.

We also didn’t have Boomerang, Nickelodeon, or  the Cartoon Network.  There was no Dish Network or Cable TV.  Even if my parents had WANTED to “plug me in”, as the saying goes, there really wasn’t much of anything to plug me into.

As a side note, my kids look at me like I’m a damn caveman when I tell ‘em we only had 3 TV channels when I was a kid.

The first time I told my son that he said, “3 channels?  Were Grammy and Pap Pap poor or something?”

When it came to reading with my parents, there was only one standing rule:  if we wanted someone to read Dr. Seuss to us, it had to be my Dad.  I think he loved Dr. Seuss almost as much as my brother and I did.

For some reason, my Mom just wasn’t’ a big fan of the good Doctor.  Something about the hallucinatory imagery and the rhyme-tastic verbal gymnastics made her feel like she was having to work just a liiiiiitle too hard right before bedtime, you know?

I’m not sure if times have changed or if there are just more high quality children’s books to choose from these days, but other than the Cat in the Hat and How the Grinch Stole Christmas, my kids haven’t grown up with the same passionate appreciation of the work of Dr. Seuss that I did.

That said, I think there are slews of grown ups my age and beyond who grew up with Dr. Seuss and could appreciate some slight modifications to his most famous works that would make them a bit more relevant here in the 21st Century.

With that in mind, here are my ideas:

  • What’s the first thing you do when you get to work everyday?  Check your email, right?  I’m sure you’ve noticed that for every relevant email you receive, there are at least 10 others that are unsolicited junk messages.  So why not write a new book about the world of electronic correspondence called “Spam I Am”?
  • Or maybe in the interest of getting a little more high-brow and incorporating some of the true classics…..why not combine the works of Shakespeare and Dr. Seuss…..you could call it “Green Eggs and Hamlet”?

  • Seems like every couple years around the holidays, somewhere in the US., there’s a battle over putting up a nativity scene in front of a government building.  Given Dr. Seuss’s penchant for cleverly subversive thinking in his work, how about an off off OFF Broadway play called “How the Politically Correct Stole Christmas?”
  • Now that Asian cuisine of all kinds has become fashionable in the last 10 or so years.  I think there’s money to be made in opening a sushi restaurant called “One Fish Two Fish, Red Fish Blue Fish”.

  • One of Dr. Seuss’s most endearing characters is Horton, the big grey elephant with an even bigger heart.  How about re-adapting two well known Seuss titles to reflect political and economic topics of the day?  For example, “Horton hears a Housing Crisis” or ”Horton Hatched The Egg but FDA Shut Him Down”?
  • On a similar note, the cost of filling your tank is obviously on everyone’s mind these days.  So how about an essay called “I Had Trouble Getting to Solla Sollew…a gallon of gas is now four thirty two”
  • Quite a handful of Dr. Seuss stories have made their way on to the big screen in recent years and even though most of the movies weren’t all that great, you KNOW some Hollywood heavyweights made some big cash on ‘em.  So why not make a movie starring Charlize Theron or Penelope Cruz wearing a endless variety of enticing footwear.  You could call it “Fox in Sox”.

  • And as long as we’re talking movies, why not stray even further into the adult film genre and land a big time Hollywood budget for “Is that a wocket in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?”  I’m seeing Ray Liotta in the title role.
  • I don’t watch enough daytime TV to know if those tabloid talk shows are still in existence but I’m guessing they probably are.  Didn’t Oprah do a show a while back on a man who claimed to be pregnant?  Assuming it hasn’t been done already, I think Jerry Springer could land big ratings with a show called “Yertle the Turtle and His Quest to Be Fertile”.

  • And finally….the first Dr. Seuss book ….published way back in 1937 was called “And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street”.  Obviously, the book was a great success and launched the career of arguably the foremost writer in the history of children’s literature but why not put more of a local spin on it? Why not give it an exclusively Denver vibe.  Just think how many volumes you could produce of a book called “And to Think that I Saw It On Colfax Avenue”.  There’s flop house hotels, rampant drug deals, and transvestite hookers all one street!  Think of the endless rhyming possibilities!! (In my hometown of Pittsburgh it would be called “And To Think that I Saw it On East Liberty Avenue”.)

All you Hollywood executive producer types?  Have your people call my people.  Let’s do lunch and then we’ll start printing money.

3 Comments

  • I absolutely LOVE what you’ve done with this!
    I too grew up with Dr. Suess — and my kids heard
    so much Green Eggs & Spam that we could quote it
    back and forth to one another.
    Your updates are hilarious! When are you going to
    do some stand up?

    Thanks for the post!

  • Leslie wrote:

    I love it!!! I think you’re on to something, sir!
    As for childrens books today, you obviously haven’t read Skippy Jon Jones to your kids. The tongue twisting is right up there with the late, great Dr!!

  • Pat McNulty wrote:

    When’s the book coming out? Your brain droppings are worth $29.95 hardbound…

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