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