Friday, 13 December 2013
You're Only Old Once
The book was published on Theodor Seuss Geisel's 82nd birthday in 1986, and he wrote it after having spent entirely too much time undergoing medical examinations.
I felt the same way last week after a lengthy visit with a couple of doctors so it was fun when I got home to read this book again. As Seuss writes at the beginning, I too wish I could live in this kind of world:
'cause the air that they breathe
and because they chew nuts
from the Tutt-a-Tutt tree.
This gives strength to their teeth,
it gives length to their hair,
and they live without doctors,
with nary a care.
Thereafter, the entire story is about the folly an extended physical examination can turn out to be. The hearing test:
Then they'll say, “My dear fellow, you're deafer than most.
But there's hope, since you're not quite as deaf as a post.
We'll study your symptoms. We'll give you a call.
In the meantime, go back and sit down in the hall.
I'm lucky that (for now) I need no prescription drugs and take only three basic supplements. Nevertheless, this section of Seuss's book feels all too real:
For your Pill Drill you'll go to Room Six Sixty-three,
where a voice will instruct you, “Repeat after me...
This small white pill is what I munch
at breakfast and right after lunch.
I take the pill that's kelly green
before each mail and in between.
These loganberry-colored pills
I take for early morning chills.
I take the pill with zebra stripes
to cure my early evening gripes.
These orange-tinted ones, of course,
I take to cure my charley horse.
I take three blues at half past eight
to slow my exhalation rate.
On alternate nights at nine p.m.
I swallow pinkies. Four of them."
The reds, which make my eyebrows strong,
I eat like popcorn all day long.
The speckled brown are what I keep
beside my bed to help me sleep.
This long flat one is what I take
if I should die before I wake.
Thank you, Dr. Seuss, wherever you are.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Dan Gogerty: The Yellow School Bus – Social Media with a Whiff of Gravel Dust and Exhaust