I worship at the altar of Dr. Seuss.
A few weeks ago, I introduced our toddler to “Green Eggs and Ham.”
The premise is baked into our brains — this weird looking hairy guy is stalked by some mini-dude who politely but insistently demands that he eat a disgusting looking plate of green eggs and ham.
It looks like the tiny guy found a plate of spoiled food sitting in someone’s garage and, as a prank, descended on this poor guy minding his own business.
He hounds him like a politician seeking a vote.
But, hey, the little guy can rhyme like Eminem and he’s one heck of a salesman, so he convinces the man to try his food.
And guess what? He loves it! All that angst, all that drama, all those unnecessary rhymes and riddles and the hairy dude discovers that green eggs and ham is a delicacy.
Here’s what I love about the story — it is spot on.
How many times in our lives have we hesitated to try something — food, a ride at an amusement park or competing for a spot on the high school baseball team — despite the urging of loved ones and friends?
How many times have we been too nervous to take a risk — to ask a girl for a date, to apply for a job, to move to a new city — because we feared failure?
How many times have we protested and protested against something unusual or different that we cost ourselves a chance at a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, accomplishment or relationship?
Probably more times than we care to admit.
Oh, what we can learn from “Green Eggs and Ham.”
Superficially, I read the book to our toddler because I wanted our sometimes picky eater to realize that food he claims is “yucky” is actually tasty — if only he would try it.
But as I reread the story, I realized the levels I must have missed previously. (Not an uncommon thing for me, by the way.)
In the end, the man who eats “Green Eggs and Ham” can be free of regret.
Even if he detested the food — or if it landed him in the intensive care unit of the nearest hospital — he can take comfort knowing that at least he tried it. He tested himself. He stepped into the arena and took a risk.
The hirsute fella learned that “Green Eggs and Ham” is a pretty terrific thing. And his life might be forever enriched because of the mouth-watering experience.
That’s a lesson I plan to reinforce to both of my boys. Repeatedly.
“Green Eggs and Ham” may be a children’s book. But it’s also an adult book. One that we would benefit from re-reading every now and then.