Oh, The Places You'll Go!

You'll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You'll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step; step with care and great tact, and remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left. - Dr Seuss.

Today is - or rather would have been, as he died in 1991 - the 110th birthday of Dr Theodor Geisel, otherwise known to generations of children (and the Red Hot Chili Peppers) as Dr Seuss. For Americans, Dr Seuss's birthday is now National Read Across America Day, an initiative on reading created by the National Education Association. And let's face it, who is more likely to make you want to hurtle through a book than Yertle the Turtle? If he's cool enough for Flea, then he's cool enough for me.

I had a long and lasting love affair with Dr Seuss's creations. You can tell from the amount of chocolatey smears on Ten Apples Up On Top, and the dog eared mess which Hop On Pop rapidly deteriorated into. I was a bit scared of The Cat In The Hat for some reason; I think he was a little bit too anarchistic for my neat and tidy brain. I wanted to go wild, but I think I was busy quietly wetting my pants waiting for the mother in the book to come home and CATCH THEM OUT, so the Cat's craziness was a bit wasted on me.

Fox In Socks on the other hand... let's just say that still has a place in my memory worthy of going straight to the pool room, as Darryl Kerrigan from The Castle would say. As for Green Eggs and Ham, the mild hysteria that induced would be worrying in an adult, because I'd assume some form of illegal substances were involved in the high pitched laughter and repetition of 'I DO like green eggs and ham!!!'.

Possibly the aforementioned green eggs. Or mushrooms.

He was a complex cat, old Theodor. By no means perfect; in fact I was a bit shocked by his fairly yuck attitude towards the Japanese during the second World War (although he did redeem himself to a large degree). He wasn't above pushing political or religious messages through his books, but then again he's not the only children's author guilty of this (hello C.S. Lewis as an outstanding culprit of the latter). But he achieved what many an author, and almost more to the point, many an overwhelmingly frustrated parent and teacher, has not -

He made reading fun. And so, kids read. And they kept reading. And they remembered more than the nonsense; they remembered the lessons.

Because what a lot of people tend to forget is this. In amongst all of the Hortons and Grinches, Loraxes and Cindy Lous, Seuss had some fairly profound messages which serve us well as adults. How to enjoy the journey. How to not be selfish. How to be ourselves.

How to fall in love.

And this is why I will always celebrate my Seussosity. Because it is the things I have carried with me, 30 years on, which make me happy to say 'do I like them Sam I am?' and grin like a maniac when someone equally weird, and who vaguely resembles David Tennant, knows what I am talking about.

For we're all a little weird, and life's a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.

That's what the Doc said, anyway.

I'm willing to take it as gospel.