Dr. Seuss was a genius, you’ll hear that a lot,
But write just for children he surely did not.
His birthday we know was sometime last week,
So at his words and his life we should take a peek.
Even adults can find some truth in his rhymes
And his message was often ahead of his times.
So let’s look at his quotes that changed us a bit
And reminded us to always care worth a shit.
“A person’s a person no matter how small”, Horton Hears a Who. Ok, this one probably hits pretty close to home for me. As an adult who fell a full half foot short of the 6’2” prediction the doctor gave me when I was an aspiring twelve year old, I have always rooted for the little guy. But the best part of this quote is that it comes from an elephant who realizes that it is not his size that defines him, but his heart. All people matter, no matter who they are, what race they belong to, or where they come from. All people deserve our respect, simply because they are human beings. It is when we forget this wonderful lesson that we fall into the traps of prejudice and hatred, and in the end, it is always our own selves that pay the price.
“Today you are YOU, that is TRUER than true. There is NO ONE alive who is YOUER than YOU!”, Happy Birthday to You! This is the ultimate slogan for celebrating one’s individuality, and who better to do so than Seuss? Only he could take pronouns like “You” and make adjectives out of them by adding a simple “er”. He instilled an entire generation of young people with a sense of self that gave them the courage to explore their own identity and be ok with what they found.
“Dont cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” We are prisoners of nostalgia, regretting the fact that we cannot live in the past. Are you still alive today? Then quit your bitching. Go out and make your life happy today. This quote applies to relationships, aging, and parenthood. All of them go by far too fast. Except some of those old relationships- some of them should have ended long before they did.
“’Maybe Christmas,’” he thought, “’doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more?’”, How the Grinch Stole Christmas. In a world of consumerism, Seuss reminded us that the magic of Christmas, or any holiday really, comes not from the presents or other material trappings, but rather from the connection we make with our fellow human beings. The Grinch’s heart grows two sizes that day because he makes this realization. A former Walmart exec, the Grinch has been deluded into the false belief that Christmas is predicated upon things, but when the Who’s down in Whoville discover that all their stuff has been stolen, they don’t give a crap. Instead, like a bunch of stoners living on a 1960’s hippie commune, they come together to join hands and sing songs of togetherness. Now that’s what Christmas is all about: family That and the alcohol we need to tolerate them….
“Sometimes you never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory”. Carpe f’ing diem, Dr. Seuss! This quote is particularly poignant is the modern era of smart phones and other technological distractions. Instead of relishing in the moment of our kids’ first steps, our amazing vacation to Peru, or simply a wonderful evening with our spouse, we are too busy trying to capture it and hold onto it forever. Or even worse, we are posting it on social media so others can be impressed by how vibrant our lives are and how much we are having. Yeah, if you are having that much fun, and living it that fully, you wouldn’t have the time or mindfulness to give a shit if you posted it on Facebook or not. Stop posting and start living.
“UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to to get better. It’s not.” The Lorax. Seuss’s seminal piece on environmentalism seems even more pertinent today than it did when he wrote it. Fact is that unless we are all sitting around waiting for our fellow beings to take up the cause and change things, but Seuss reminds us that we each, as individuals, need to step up to the plate.
And finally, “Today is you day. Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!” Oh the Places You’ll Go. My mother gave me this book when I graduated from college. Like many narcissistic college grads, I could not understand why my mother would be giving me a “children’s” book when I had just completed college where I had read and written about such philosophical geniuses as Socrates, Faulkner, and Nabokov. But sometimes the purest truths are the simplest. “Sometimes the questions are complicated, and the answers are simple.” Stop thinking about the task in front of you and just get moving. Live the life in front of you. Thinking is for pussies. “And will you succeed? Yes you will indeed! Ninety-eight and three-quarters percent guaranteed.” Nothing in life is for certain, except that you will accomplish nothing sitting here reading my blog, so get out there and go make a difference. Unless you are campaigning for Trump. Then you should stay home and keep reading. Then again, if you are voting for Trump, reading probably isn’t your thing….
Steven Craig is the author of the best-selling novel WAITING FOR TODAY, as well as numerous published poems, short stories, and dramatic works. Read his blog TRUTH: in 1000 Words or Less every TUESDAY and FRIDAY at www.waitingfortoday.com