Jo Ann Alo

writer – rhymer – Jesus junky

I’ve always been one of Dr. Suess’ greatest fans. The Grinch is right up there on my literary list. And it’s not just his fuzzy funny rhymable way of doing things. But because he shows us the chance of getting from the edge of the abyss to the head of the table in 30 min. It’s a great story of reform and good feeling. But this experiential, analytical, fact finding personality of mine believes Theodor Suess Geisel had more to say. When I sit down and read this story to my grandsons and they ask me, “If it wasn’t ribbons, boxes, or bags…then what did the Grinch hear that he hadn’t heard before that made his heart grow three sizes that day?” Which is really my question. Because he was on the edge of a cliff! No one was holding his hand. No one was joining hearts with him at this point. He was just standing there holding the sum of what he thought was making the Whos jolly about Christmas. When he finds out the Whos happiness stems from the fact that they have each other and his plan to confiscate Christmas has failed — I would think he’d become even more begrudging! Which is really interesting…because I found this out when researching Suess’ own predicament in resolving his tale.

He was quoted as stating that it was the easiest book he’d ever written except for the conclusion. Suess said: “I got hung up getting the Grinch out of the mess. I got into a situation sounding like a second rate preacher or some biblical truism. In desperation, without making any statement, I show the Grinch and the Whos together at the table and made a pun of the Grinch carving the roast beast. I had gone through thousands of religious choices, and after 3 months it came out like that.”

Theodor himself inspired the story. On December 26th at the age of 53 (the same age as the Grinch) he caught his frown in the mirror. Apparently the materialism of it all caused him to snarl with a sneer. I know people who would say they hate Christmas for the same reason — but they don’t really find joy in others either.

I get the Grinch’s plight. When my daughter and son-in-law were trudging through the snow of infertility, I hated the noise of pregnancy announcements. All that bragging makes the heart shrink with envy. It’s loud and annoying.

One reminder after another.
Every year another mother!
I will not wear my dancing shoes.
I can not stand your happy news!

And Christmastime is the worst! Theodor was feeling it the day after Christmas. The sour reality that life on earth is a succession of losses! It’s lonesome and bloody, and we are all desperate to find our own happy ending. In terms of our condition, it is a very long distance to the banquet — which is why it’s so puzzling. But instead of simply receiving the invitation to sit, Theodor pens another Christmas slogan. “Heart to heart and hand in hand.” Blah, blah, blah…that’s the real noise I’m actually sick of hearing!

Tell me the truth! That winning only comes through the Resurrection! We can sing and have unsurpassing joy because of  the hope that is set before us! Theodor settled on Whoville because it takes no faith to believe in what you can see.

So why was Theodor Suess unwilling to hear the voice of clemency at the brink of his life?

It might have been that his sales were too high.
Or perhaps he was compelled to lie.
No one can really know the reason.
But whatever the excuse, his sales or reviews…
Theodor Suess has missed his cue.

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