Life lessons learned from Dr. Seuss

Like many of my contemporaries, I was an avid reader of Dr. Seuss books as a child. The simple rhyming structure and compactness of the volumes belied it’s deep and life-long influence. Theodore Geisel hid profound life lessons within the pages of his short works; lessons that I am only beginning to realize are still with me today.

I’ll start with the first of his books I can recall – Green Eggs and Ham. C’mon, say it with me, you know you know the line “I do not like them Sam I Am, I do not like green eggs and ham.” Throughout the pages of this brief masterpiece we are regaled with increasingly bizarre places to try eating this titular dish. Yet the protagonist resists. The idea of eating eggs in an unfamiliar color seems to be anathema to him. When he finally capitulates and tries the eggs he finds them delicious. He is suddenly willing to eat them anywhere and at anytime. The lesson I learned from this was that I should be willing to try new things, even if they seem weird and scary at first. I’m still working hard to embrace this message but being aware of it is a good first step (for me at least).

Another Dr. Seuss work that still resonates for me today is The Sneetches. In this tale there are two tribes of sneetches – one group has stars on their bellies and the other doesn’t. Naturally the star-bearing sneetches feel they are superior to their barren bellied brethren. Eventually a scammer offers a solution – a machine that will put stars on the Plain-Bellied Sneetches (for a fee of course). Naturally this outrages the Star-Bellied Sneetches who decided that perhaps barren bellies are the way to go. After numerous ridiculous interactions, both groups finally realize that this prejudice is ridiculous and they are truly all equal – with or without stars. I can’t say I fully grasped this concept as a child but as I matured I began to realize what a simple yet profound concept this was. It was reinforced over the years by various other studies and life lessons (such as the classroom activity when a teacher divided children up according to eye-color and proceeded to treat one eye-color group as superior to the other – the results were not quite so funny or charming in real life).

Another hugely influential Dr. Seuss tale was The Lorax. “I speak for the trees!” – I can still hear him protesting. This book had such impact on me as a child that I am still amazed that humanity hasn’t learned it’s simple lesson. If we run through our resources like locusts, we will be left with nothing. We justify our behaviors with a very “everybody needs a thneed” approach and don’t realize that some things are irreplaceable and some things, once broken, are unfixable. Children seem to understand this concept better than adults. Unfortunately many also seem to forget it as they grow older. Maybe we should make it mandatory for every adult to read this book at least once a year. I don’t see how it could be put in more simple, profound yet easy to understand terms.

A final Dr. Seuss tale that stuck with me through the years is The Zax, a tale of stubbornness taken to ridiculous levels. When the north-going Zax and the south-going Zax cross paths (or rather collide head-on), their refusal to compromise reaches epic proportions. I wish I could say reading this book kept me from becoming overly stubborn but that would be inaccurate. However I can say that it at least kept me honest about my ridiculous moments of monumentally stupid stubbornness. Once again, this is a life lesson I’m still trying to fully embrace but at least I realize the need.

Other Dr. Seuss classics such as How the Grinch Stole Christmas and The Cat in the Hat certainly stayed with me but didn’t have quite the same impact as the ones I mentioned above. I think I may need to re-read these books soon. It occurs to me that growing old is forgetting the joy and magic of childhood. In my opinion Dr. Seuss books help keep that spirit alive.

Mansions of the Moon – Hanged Man

Mansions of the Moon Hanged Man

 

Mansions of the Moon Tarot
ZADOK (dahogue@nctc.net)
Self-Published

The Paper says: The crucifixion of Jesus Christ & the burning of an accused Witch. Horrible and inhuman torture in the name of religion.

TarotBroad’s Buzz: To me this card contrasts the difference between a willing sacrifice and an unwilling one. Christ has always been portrayed as a willing sacrifice who allows himself to die on the cross in order to save humanity’s souls. He might have dreaded the upcoming pain and death but he ultimately gave himself over to the inevitable; to his mission in life. Compare this to the terror the victim at the stake must have felt – fury, mind-numbing horror and ultimately a sense of betrayal and futility. And the Earth is home to both types of sacrifice every day.

The key to this card is to remind us how easy it can be to fall into the trap of creating unwilling sacrifices and how difficult it can be to stand up for our beliefs, even at the risk of losing our lives. It makes me think of the question would I be willing to sacrifice myself for the greater good? This is not an easy concept to grasp or to resolve. And does our sacrifice actually make a difference? If one believes in an afterlife then even death is just a transformative process. As Imhotep says in The Mummy “death is only the beginning”.

Supernatural Thrall – on the road in a ’67 Impala

Okay, I admit it. I came late to the game but I have become a full-fledged Supernatural freak. I watched the show when it first came on but it was scheduled on Thursday nights and I had classes so I usually missed it, then I just fell out of the habit. A friend was recently enthusing about the show and I decided to try again. I can’t believe I waited this long. It has everything I love in a show – great chemistry between the brothers, interesting plots and a kickass car! I was a huge fan of The Night Stalker TV show in the ’70s and this series picks up where it left off and takes it to a whole new level.

To be honest, I have also become obsessed with Dean Winchester the older brother. The actor, Jensen Ackles, is a good-looking piece of eye-candy but he also makes Dean likeable and sympathetic despite his jackass, bossy tendencies. I connect with Dean for a variety of reasons. As an older sibling I understand the desire to protect the younger ones. I get that smug superiority that the eldest can sometimes exude. At the same time Dean is filled with self-doubt, low self-esteem and a desire for his father’s approval. I identify with all of those things. I know I can project an air of confidence and disdain for the approval of others but deep inside I’m often craving that very thing.

I understand Dean’s “good son” persona. I don’t know if this is something all eldest children feel but as a child I felt a desperate need to live up to my parents’ expectations of me. I often felt like I was held to a different, higher standard than my siblings. It wasn’t until I was older that I was able to break this pattern.

I am also drawn to Dean’s dark side. That ability to enter Hell or Purgatory and survive. When in these situations Dean can seem amoral, willing to do whatever it takes to survive. I sometimes sense that if I didn’t keep a hold on myself I could easily slip into amorality. In fact when I was younger my mother used to tell me I was unmoralistic – I knew what morals were but felt no need to apply them to myself or convinced myself that I was but that my standards were different.

Watching Dean go through his trials and lessons has opened my eyes to certain character traits in my own personality that might benefit from some tweaking. It’s also convinced me that deep down inside I want desperately to be a badass! So here’s to yet another journey down the road in the ’67 Impala. Who knows what other lessons I might learn?

The Winchester Brothers and Baby