Dr. Seuss, the cleanup was tiring but, at the same time, quite inspiring


November 09, 2008|By JANET GILBERT

Let us consider the many relevant themes in the childhood classic The Cat in the Hat.

There is the "stranger danger" theme: Look what can happen when you allow a lanky cat wearing a candy-striped hat into your home!

There is the "latchkey child" theme, which can foster discussion on what to do and not to do when left unattended for a day.

Finally, there is the "family ties" theme, evidenced by the siblings coming together to contain the chaos caused by the cat before Mom returns home.

What makes the book so timeless, however, is its most obvious theme: how one individual's mess can rapidly spread in a home, affecting everyone.

It was all I could think about the other day, as I struggled to clean first the dog, then everywhere in the house the dog had been, which was, in fact, everywhere in the house.

The whole process greatly tired me. But it also greatly inspired me. With apologies to Dr. Seuss, here is "The Stick-Tight Seed Dog."

The sun did not shine.

It was nasty and wet.

And my dog, Moose, was frisky

As frisky can get.

So I took him to romp

In a nice open field,

Not knowing what trouble

Would soon be revealed.

Ol' Moose, he flashed white

As he ran with elation.

But when he returned

He looked like a Dalmatian.

Wherever he bounded,

Through tall brush and weeds,

He came into contact with

Fall "stick-tight" seeds.

So home to the shower

Went polka dot Moose.

But I found no good method

To get "stick-tights" loose.

They stuck in the dog brush,

They clung to the tiles -

Adhered to the bathmat

In small clumpy piles.

On washcloth, now towels,

Now carpets, now pillows -

These seeds are the plant world's

Strong, tough armadillos.

And, lo! How they travel

On socks, place to place.

The "stick-tights" are winning

This trash-a-house race.

It's been over a week

And I'm finding them still,

On sofa, on sweater,

On floor, windowsill ...

I've combed and I've clipped,

I snip and I pick,

But the "stick-tight" seed sticks

With a sick, sticky stick.

There's one on my face now,

And one on my sleeve,

I've only one recourse

To get them to leave.

I'm beginning to wish for

The magic they do ...

That Cat in the Hat,

With "thing one" and "thing two."

To contact Janet or hear podcasts, visit http://www.janetgilbert.net.

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