I have a disability.
I am largely unfamiliar with the stories of Dr. Seuss.
Now, this is not for a lack of reading. Everyone who knows me knows I love to read and always have. When I was a kid I read all of the Happy Hollister books – like, really, I think all 33 of them. They were published in the ‘50s and I just loved the stories. I also read every book ever written by Walter Farley – the Black Stallion, the Black Stallion Returns, Son of the Black Stallion, the Black Stallion and Satan, the Black Stallion’s Blood Bay Colt, the Island Stallion (my FAVORITE book on earth, still)… I probably read every book in the Saddle Club series (and now that series is a cartoon! with the most beautiful colorful horses – it’s so not fair, kids today are so lucky and don’t even realize it.) And remember the Sweet Valley Twins??? Yeah, I read all those. Sweet Valley High was a little too risqué for my Catholic school shelter, though, so I don’t think I got into those. But by then I had 90210, so my life was complete.
My lack of familiarity with Seuss is probably why I’m not a people person, and am particularly intimidated by children.
I mean, sure, I can identify Seussian graphics – the Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs & Ham, One Fish Two Fish, Horton… But I don’t know the stories. I’ve read a few of the books in the last couple years but I just don’t get the point of some of them – I know, they’re mostly life-lessons for kids and teach certain principles or colors, numbers, etc. (How do you know you don’t like green eggs & ham when you’ve never tried them???) But I don’t remember most of them. Probably because I was too busy looking for silly random things in the pictures to pay attention to the words.
The one story I DO know well is “Oh! The Places You’ll Go”. That one… Man! That is one of my favorite pieces of writing ever published.
The first time I heard of it was about two years ago when my dad bought the book for my brother for Christmas (yes, my brother was 34 years old at the time). We all thought it was a silly present when he opened it, and thoughtlessly it got tossed aside on Jim’s pile of gifts. When he got home after Christmas, though, he called me right away, all excited. He’d packed the book in his laptop case to carry on the plane to read in-flight. He said he almost died at how insightful it was of our dad to get him this silly – or not-so-silly – book and then read it out loud to me over the phone.
I laughed. I might have even cried. But most of all, I was in awe. It was beautiful.
The story is awesome. And my brother should totally be a narrator or a comedian, or some kind of professional public speaker. His intonation and inflection while reading the story made it even funnier and poignant than it is in print. Usually I’m a visual learner and only catch about 49% of auditory lessons, but this time I retained the story.
My favorite part, and the part that touched me the most with the way Jimmy read it, is this:
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.
Except when you don’t.
Because, sometimes, you won’t.
I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you…
WOW, I mean, what a great story. You can read the full text here.
There’s a reason this is relevant to my baking. Promise.
I’ve been asked to make Dr. Seuss-themed cupcakes and a mini smash cake for a little girl’s birthday party. Seuss’s graphics are SO iconic, so unique, and so identifiable that I want to make sure anything I do pays respectful homage to the Seuss genius.
At first I thought, “Easy! Swedish fish!”
But then I doubted my first reaction, “Nah, Dr. Seuss’s fish are too animated and squiggly to be replaced by boring Swedish fish.”
I also thought, at first, “Simple! Cat in the hat Hat for the smash cake!” But the more I consider it, the more I doubt my ability to make it look honestly like Seuss’s signature illustration. Well, scratch that. Ability is one thing. Enough time is another thing entirely.
So what about white chocolate “eggs” with green M&M centers, and little orbs of green fondant ham? This seems too simple.
Somehow I have to make these cupcakes awesome. I’m intimidated. There are some excellent examples out there.
Luckily, Dr. Seuss says ’ll be alright:
And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)
But, what about that 1-1/4 percent???