Seuss Deuce

Today is Dr. Seuss’s birthday, so in his honor I’ll recall one of the many times I’ve ripped him off by doing a weak parody of his timeless work.

In this case, the original act of larceny occurred in the summer of 2013 when New York City commuters were astonished to find dead shark riding a New York Subway.

This idea of a Straphanger Shark was, I thought, almost Seussian. The master, however, would have gone bigger – much bigger.

I realize now that I never finished that earlier version, so this time it has an ending, if not a moral.

We were heading for home on the subway one day
We were too tired to speak. There was nothing to say
It was Sally and me at the back of a train
that smelled fishy and dank, but we didn’t complain.
The car clattered and rattled and squeaked on its track.
The lights flickered a bit. It got bright and then black.
And then darker than pitch. Clearly something was wrong.
While the squeaking we’d heard transformed into a song.
“What’s that noise?” Sally shouted. The deafening trill
became loud as a whistle and two times as shrill.
And then all of it stopped – both the train and the sound!
When we got off the floor we both looked all around.
Peering deep in the tunnel – the source of the din –
we saw two giant eyeballs there, peering back in.
“Don’t be scared” said a voice. “I am harmless,” it joked.
“You’re too late,” I replied, for my trousers were soaked.
“I am sorry for that.” He was big. He was pale.
“You can just call me Moby. The Whale on the Rail.
“He should not be down here,” stammered Sally, to me.
“Because whales belong down in the depths of the sea.”
“That is true,” said the whale. His breath stank of dead fish.
“But as long as I’m here, we can do what you wish.”
“There are games for commuters and whales we can play.”
“If you have a sharp knife and a sea bass to flay.”
“We do not have a knife,” I replied, in a peep.
“That is not a good game. You go back to the deep.”
But the Whale on the Rail only blinked at us twice.
Then he said, “Maybe some other game would be nice.”
“How ’bout ‘Where’s Your Blowhole?’ he said. “That is fun.”
“Not for us,” shot back Sally. “Because we don’t have one.”
“So you think,” said the whale. At his voice, the car shook.
“But you always find one in the last place you look.”
“The conductor is coming,” I said. “Swim away.”
But the Whale only smiled. “I would much rather play.
At that moment, the subway door opened up wide,
and a grizzled man step-clumped his peg-leg inside.
The whale’s eyeballs grew bigger – as large as the moon
at the site of this man and his ten-foot harpoon.
As the beast turned to flee, the conductor’s remark
was succinct – “This is more than a simple dead shark.
It’s the demon I’ve chased for a decade or more!”
As he hurled his harpoon out the subway car door.
When that missile hit home the rope wriggled about,
and entangled his leg as it quickly played out.
“Call me Ahab”, he said, as the line became tight.
He shot into the dark and was soon out of sight.
But we heard him exclaim as he bounced down the rails,
“The New York City Subway – it’s no place for whales!”

 

Recommend a book you’ve read recently.

80 thoughts on “Seuss Deuce”

    1. Beth Ann is so nice, I’ll leave her point untrammeled.
      But please be precise – where was whale-flesh de-mammaled?
      The reference to fish was to breath, not taxonomy.
      So why try to pin such a bad mistake on-a me?

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    I am thinking–maybe I can illustrate this one and we can re-purpose Dr. Kyle as an author for grown up children. Or Dr. Dale.

    But no illustration of flaying–too grizzled.

    Meanwhile: Breakfast With Buddha Roland Merullo

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  2. In response to today’s query: Alexandra Fuller’s “Leaving Before the Rains Come,” the most recent in her series of memoirs. A contemplative look at her life, trying to come to terms with the people and forces that have shaped her. Not a “happy” book, but a soul-searching journey through both the pain and joys of her early life, her marriage and its demise. Fuller writes with an exceptional candor that I find refreshing; no blaming her parents or her ex for everything. A skilled writer on top of her game.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have been in a bad state lately where I pick up a book, read a few chapters and then put it down. It’s like being at a buffet where nothing is quite what I want for dinner. Have been working through The Battle for God by Karen Armstrong in fits and starts – can’t say as I’m too far in, but the history and impetus behind various fundamentalisms in religion is fascinating.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Karen Armstrong, and important writer whose subject matter can be a bit heavy to consume all in one sitting. I tend to read her in fits and starts as well, Anna.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I hate when that happens. I stand in the library, card in hand and a rare stretch of free time before me, and absolutely nothing is calling to me.

      Hope that drought passes soon!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I have been reading and enjoying the Emily of New Moon series by L.M. Montgomery. I think it is better than Anne of Green Gables. I also am reading and enjoying Dreaming Spies by Laurie King. Husband is reading and enjoying The Devil Amongst the Lawyers by Sharyn McCrumb.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Population: 485: Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren at a Time
    by Michael Perry.

    I read it last year, but it was the best book I read in 2014 (officially too since I blogged about it.) Not to pigeon-hole Mr. Perry, but he’s something of a Wisconsin version of Garrison Keillor writing about Lake Wobegon. That comparison made, he has his own voice and style and doesn’t appear to be mimicking Keillor at all.

    Funny, serious, poignant, witty, and beautiful writing focused on the people and places around a tiny northwestern Wisconsin town.

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Fallow reading time for me, too, like Anna. I get them now and then. I guess I am more focused on writing and what I am writing is emotionally draining. I have read a few travel essay sorts of books, not recommending any them. I did read a book about narrowboating in England. Family sells all, buys an old narrowboat, rebuilds it, rides the canals, sells it. I found on Amazon Prime a series of rather chintzy one-hour shows on narrowboats and the canals.
    I am rereading Don Quixote and find the book so much more real at age 70 than at age 20. It is a book about an old man with an unfuflfilling past.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Just one? Ha. The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion – easy read and funny, although has some interesting themes about perception and how humans deal with each other. Of course you really should read the first one (The Rosie Project) first.

    Also just finished The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny – nice mystery series set in Quebec. AND last night finished As You Wish by Cary Elwes about the making of Princess Bride. Not great literature but a fun look at the making of one of the best movies of all time.

    I’ll stop now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No need to stop, vs, I think most baboons feel this way about book recommendations from someone whose taste in literature they trust: the more the merrier.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If that were true, Steve, then I wouldn’t be inching closer and closer to my limit of 50 requests at the library!

        Like

  8. Been trying to write Seussish
    But all that comes out is rubbish
    Compared to the work of Dale,
    Mine is like wilted kale.
    Keep seething at the doufus,
    Sent us an article on lupus.
    As if Sandy does not know
    What she must undergo.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. As I posted a few months ago, the best book I’ve read in years is All the Light We Cannot See. I read fast, so I’ve read it three times. The second best book is the Roz Chast illustrated memoir “Can’t We Talk About Something Pleasant?” Any baboon caring for aging parents will find that one funny and harrowing. And now I need to go back to the book currently hogging all my time: the Oregon driver’s test book. Ugh! The scuttlebutt here is that they make the test formidable in order to scare people. They have been successful with me.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Steve – I completely agree. I read it in one sitting (albeit a very long sitting – on a flight home from Europe) and can see myself re-reading this one in the future (when the waiting list isn’t so long at the library (currently 1248 in line)!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh, goody, a book day. I found memoir by Barbara Ehrenreich, Living with a Wild God, fascinating (I may still be thinking about Spock); also her Dancing in the Streets, which I’ve spoken about here before. Then there are the mysteries, O Jerusalem by Laurie King and Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny.

    Like

  11. Live From New York by James Miller and Tom Shales
    SNL history as told by the cast, writers and crew.
    “The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the
    face.” Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Plus parking fee.
          I am not really objecting. The collection is for students and faculty. The students pay a hefty price for the use of the library in their tuition and fees.

          Like

        2. In ND, anyone with a public library card from a ND public library can take out anything from any other ND library. Some libraries charge an external user fee of $25 a year. Some don’t charge at all.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. The libraries around here fight. Blue Earth County Library and North Mankato library, a recent gift of Glen Taylor, are 1/2 mile apart. Neither card works in the other. Neither has much connection with a larger system. Politics. These two towns fight over everything. Stupid. Mankato conservatives would be perfectly happy closing down the library.

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  12. Am I the only one who thinks most college libraries are badly designed? I do not mean the architecture; I mean for practical use. UMD had (has?) the very worst. Have never seen the new, now quite old, U library. Minnesota State-Mankato (dare ye never say Mankato State) looks inside and out like a bottling plant. It has so much wasted space in the middle. No real good hiding nooks.

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    1. I couldn’t speak about “most” college libraries. I was extremely fortunate to go to a school for my BA that had a new library. Books were stored in the center of the three story structure. All around the outside walls were individual study carels that were isolated from each other by dividers. They were a conveniently sized private space, perfect for studying.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. True. “Most” is an overstatement. But I have seen more than 50 is my guess. I often went to college campus when I was killing time in my travels and would go to a campus to walk and look into the library. Smaller colleges seem to do a better job, like yours. Smaller must be easier to do. UW-Superior has a nice little library. Carleton’s I like.

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        1. I enjoyed the Carleton library a lot when I was there. All those windows facing the back of the library, looking out over the trees and the creek – very calming. And you need all the calming you can get at Carleton!

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I spent many happy hours in the library at Luther and when we were there a couple years ago it had changed very little.

          I’ve been to several of the libraries at the U and they all seem pretty industrial. The sub-basement floors at Williams (?) struck me as a good setting for a thriller, but I’d be too on edge to study there.

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  13. Greetings! Although I’m not the bookworm most of you folks are, I did read “Life of Pi” recently after seeing the movie. You probably all read it 10 years ago! My evenings are usually spent at karate or I’ve started making jewelry lately. Plus, it’s hard to turn away from Netflix: House of Cards, West Wing, Sherlock Holmes, etc.

    I’m just a tad jealous of my youngest sister at the moment. She had foot bunion surgery last week or so ago, so she informed all us siblings she bought all 4 seasons of Downton Abbey to amuse herself while convalescing. Naturally, we all responded with our favorite shows and movies she should watch. Interesting to see how much our tastes are alike.

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      1. I’ve made necklaces, bracelets and earrings on jewelry wire or elastic for the bracelets. I started just re-working old necklaces with newer beads and stuff I bought, and I got hooked. I’ve stopped for a while because buying all the real stone stuff I liked can get a bit expensive. It’s fun though.

        Like

  14. I don’t want to sound vain, but I passed the Oregon driver’s knowledge test the first time I took it. They don’t give you a medal for that, but I’m just happy to be able to drive without feeling like an undocumented alien.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Keep in mind, Steve, the test wasn’t designed to defeat you, but merely to keep drivers who don’t know the rules off the road. Congratulations on passing. I never doubted that you would.

      Like

  15. One of the joys of working at home is that I can listen to audio books while I work (the downside is that I end up working most waking hours, so don’t get a lot of actual reading time).

    I’m currently re-working my way through the works of Steve Berry who writes thrillers with a historical twist (like Dan Brown, except Steve does not expect you to take it all seriously).

    His latest, The Lincoln Myth involves a trip to Salisbury House in Des Moines, which made my little Iowa school girl heart sing. It was the big sixth grade field trip when I was in elementary school and I loved the place-sort of a collage of a mansion created by the original owner from various pieces brought over from Europe.

    Nice thing about thrillers as work listening is that you really get motivated to get to work and listen to “what happens next”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Emperor’s Tomb is waiting for me at the library as we speak! I credit YOU with turning me onto this series!

      Like

  16. OT- Daughter’s best friend is a preliminary round winner in the Schubert Club’s Bruce P Carlson Student Scholarship competition in the Intermediate Voice category (ages 17-20). Can any Baboons tell me what this might mean?

    Like

  17. I’ve been cozying up with Publication 17. Insightful, precise, and compelling, it persuades the reader to consider such everyday-life complexities as Involuntary Conversions, Related Party Transactions, Reduced Maximum Exclusion and Business Use of Home (Simplified Method). Many sequels are available also, and I am looking forward to a riveting exploration of the Substantial Presence Test in Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens (apparently a foray into sci-fi, admittedly unusual for this author). I know many will want to wait for the movie, but having read the book, I can’t imagine a big-screen version that would do it justice. I couldn’t put it down!

    Liked by 3 people

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