Ten years ago the fabled children’s author Dr. Seuss, on his death bed, said, “We can do better than this.” As we launch into 2011, let this be our challenge. And may we do so with Dr. Seuss’s special mixture of comedy and earnestness, which is captured in this poem by my father.
If you know Dr. Seuss’s work, see how many of the references you can catch. (I’ve listed as many as I can identify after the break, but I may have missed some.) If you don’t know Dr. Seuss, just surrender to his distinctive use of language.
In the Cosmic Caboose of Dr. Seuss By Scott Bates We can do better than this.” --Last words of Dr. Seuss (1904-1991) Dr. Theodor Seuss Used to play fast and loose With the deadliest, dullest reality-- Oh, the places he went! Oh, the things he did see! Like the gol-darndest zoo Of young Gerald McGrew And Horton the Incredible Elephant, too, Who rescued the Egg and the World of the Who; --Or the lands of those kooks The Yooks and the Zooks With their bomb called A BITSY BIG-BOY BOOMEROO That was going to blow us to Sala-ma-goo All because of a Wall And no notion at all That a person’s a person no matter how small! --PLUS the fabulous sights we were likely to meet On the way home from school on Mulberry Street, Not to mention the Whacks Of the Truffula Axe On the smogulous Street of the Lifted Lorax! --Give the Doctor a cat, he’d give him a hat, A wopsical hat! Would he settle for that? Would he settle for one? Or for two, three or four? No! Not Dr. Seuss! Not even a score! Take Bartholomew Cubbins. The hats that he wore They numbered five hundred, not a single hat more. And when he was done, The very last one The five hundredth hat Was a wonderful thing, A throbulous bibulous oblifferous thing That Bartholomew Cubbins could sell to a king! --And when, at the end, Dr. Theodor Seuss Went riding with Thidwick the Big-hearted Moose On his Cosmic Express, in his Big Red Caboose, And they came to the home of the Grumbling Grinch On the top of the cliff called Calamitous Clinch. In the Proverbial, Penultimate, Precipitous Pinch, Did Dr. Seuss falter? Did he flee? Did he flinch? Did he say, “What’s the use?” No! Not Dr. Geisel! No! Not Dr. Seuss! On the ultimate inch of the last precipice He just said, “We can do better than this.” And we can! With Horton and Thidwick the Moose And the Grinch and the Lorax and Cindy Lou Who And Dr. Seuss, too, in the Great Seuss Caboose, We can go beyond Zebra, Beyond Sala-ma-goo— And the Valley of Vung and the Solla Sollew— Beyond even the BITSY BIG-BOY BOOMEROO! At the ultimate edge of the Boom Band Abyss— On the corner where Mulberry Street meets Bliss— We can certainly do much better than this!
Dr. Seuss References
Oh, the Places You'll Go
If I Ran the Zoo
Horton Hears a Who
And to Think that I Saw It on Mulberry Street
Butter Battle Book
I Had Trouble in Getting To Solla Sollew
The Cat in the Hat
The 500 Hats of Bartholmew Cubbins
Thidwick the Big-hearted Moose
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
On Beyond Zebra