Feeling GrinchyPosted: December 20, 2007
I read The Grinch to Zack’s first grade class yesterday. This has become an annual tradition for me; ever since the kids were in nursery school I’ve gone into their classrooms wearing collar and Santa hat to read this seasonal Seussian classic. I even use my old copy — the one my father used to read to me. It has my name written on the inside cover in a very early, yet not entirely successful, attempt at penmanship. My favorite classroom encounter took place when Ben was in kindergarten. I walked in to read and one of Ben’s classmates looked up at me and asked in wide-eyed wonder, “Are you Hanukkah Harry?” Ummm. No.
To me The Grinch is really a Christian parable — it’s a story of conversion, repentance, and forgiveness. Or at least I started seeing these themes the year I had to read it every night for three months. Pitchers and catchers had reported for Spring Training and I was still reading about all the Whos down in Who-ville.
But I didn’t mind. It erased the other memory I have of the Grinch. At my college fraternity some of my brothers had turned the television version into a drinking game. You drink every time you hear the word “Who.” Which is a lot.
Seuss’ underlying message never goes out of style in our raging Christmas-industrial complex: “Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” Indeed it does.