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The Monster at the End of this Post

Certain health care professionals have accused me of having undue anxiety. What's that saying, "If you're not confused you're not paying attention?" How about "If you don't have an anxiety disorder you weren't paying attention to the books you were exposed to as a child."
Take, for example, The Cat in the Hat, a godless recipe for anarchy. This book wrecked me as a child. My hypothalamus most certainly shrank, marinated as it were in a toxic bath of stress hormones, while my mother read this book to me. A trickster cat hops on a ball while performing a circus act of balancing objects. Don't You Realize That a Goldfish Could Die and a Perfectly Good Cake is About to be Ruined? Not to mention the demonic flying of kites in the house by the perverted twins --"Thing One" and "Thing Two!" Holy Christ! Will no one heed the goldfish, crying like a voice in the wilderness, urging the children to chase the Cat out and restore the house to sanity and order?!?

Even worse was Grover in The Monster at the End of This Book. Each turn of the page brings Grover and the reader closer to the monster at the end of the book. Grover desperately scrambles to prevent the reader from turning the pages. He ties the pages together with rope, he builds a brick wall, but nothing is strong enough to stop the ceaseless turning of the pages.


Even as a child I knew this book was written to prepare children for the end of the world. Each passing hour is the turning of another page, bringing us closer to the horror of eternal bedtime. Yes, the monster at the end of the book turns out to be Grover himself, but this was no consolation to me. I knew that was just a sugar-coated ploy devised to trick children into going to sleep, into living an unconscious life where we dare not question God or Dick Cheney.

Yes, give me Wellbutrin and buckets of TrimSpa, Baby. Give me new pills all shiny and green -- striped ones, piped ones and a Prozac machine! For these green house gasses are killing us, Lasses. There's a Bush in the house and our Mother stepped out. Turn the page! Turn the page! Turn the page!



( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 10th, 2007 11:55 pm (UTC)
You are so freaking awesome! :)

I love you!
Feb. 10th, 2007 11:58 pm (UTC)
I knew we had to be the same age.

Two months apart.

It was EXACTLY as you say here.
Feb. 11th, 2007 12:40 am (UTC)
Grover and The Cat in the Hat also prepared me for growing up during "The Cold War" 80s and Reagan's nuclear weapons proliferation. I seriously never expected to see my twenties, let alone my thirties.

Did you ever see that made-for-tv movie "The Day After?"
Feb. 11th, 2007 01:28 am (UTC)
Oh yeah, good times.

Something like half the adult population of the US saw that film?

I can't reconstruct the subplots of the film without help, but am sure there is some dedicated trauma storage space in my brain just overflowing with images from that film. I'd really like to see it again just to fit the pieces together.
Feb. 11th, 2007 12:09 am (UTC)
Dr. Seuss ain't nothin!
Man, those books got nothing on Struwwelpeter by Heinrick Hoffmann. That's the book that gave me the heebie jeebies when I was a kid.

You have to go to German kid;s books to get the real deal. American's don't have the chops to freak out kids like those old German dudes did.

Like this story warning kids to not suck their thumbs.

The door flew open, in he ran,
The great, long, red-legged scissorman.
Oh! children, see! the tailor's come
And caught our little Suck-a-Thumb

Snip! Snap! Snip! the scissors go;
And Conrad cries out - Oh! Oh! Oh!
Snip! Snap! Snip! They go so fast;
That both his thumbs are off at last.
Mamma comes home; there Conrad stands,
And looks quite sad, and shows his hands;-
"Ah!" said Mamma "I knew he'd come
To naughty little Suck-a-Thumb."

Feb. 11th, 2007 02:03 am (UTC)
Re: Dr. Seuss ain't nothin!
Oh...my...freakin'....god. It's a miracle! I managed to suck my thumb until sixth grade and somehow avoid the scissorman. Should I consider myself lucky that all I ended up with was four years of braces for incredible buck teeth?
Feb. 11th, 2007 02:07 am (UTC)
Re: Dr. Seuss ain't nothin!
Those Germans are BRUTAL!
Feb. 12th, 2007 12:18 am (UTC)
Re: Dr. Seuss ain't nothin!
your poem at the end KILLS me. so funny and well done!
Feb. 11th, 2007 12:46 am (UTC)
hilarious post! I suffer from a bit of anxiety myself, and it still bothers me that Little Bear's mother pretended not to recognize him when he was playing 'the astronaut explores another planet.' Cryptic reference, but you get the point.
Feb. 11th, 2007 07:41 am (UTC)
I must have been spared this book as it doesn't ring a bell.
Feb. 11th, 2007 04:46 pm (UTC)
Maurice Sendak did the illustrations, but yeah, I think it's outta print now.
Feb. 11th, 2007 01:15 am (UTC)
Holy Christ! Will no one heed the goldfish, crying out like a voice in the wilderness, urging the children to chase the Cat out and return the house to sanity and order?!?

Some variation of this thought has crossed my mind every day since age 5.
Feb. 11th, 2007 01:24 am (UTC)
oh i dont know if i am ill-prepared, suppresed, accustomed, adjusted, barren, stonewalled, dulled, impervious or ??? but for some reason that is one of my all time fav. books. the monster at the end. absolutlty love it, and not cause i get giddy and hysteric as he gets closer to the impending doom, like some children might. i dont think i did. but for some reason, i was compelled to turn the pages, i wanted to, i wanted that steady supply of "oh no". to me it was exciting i guess. i dont know, im hitting undescriptive walls, i know i liked the book, still do for some reason and i do also know that i had mass quantity of undescriptive anxiety and whatnot as the youngster in the household. anyway, i guess i jazz from grovers neurocitisicm.
Feb. 11th, 2007 01:33 am (UTC)
yes i wonder what is wrong with me now. i have never found any depth in these kids books. is it because my depth was found in other areas or do some children not need to confront the anxiety in books ot maybe some of us just dont read it like that, not to say that i didnt have my probs. i mean my stuffed animals used to be in "intensive care" for weeks on the brink of death, at the time i had no idea why. i just knew that i needed to take my brothers pampers box and turn it upside down to create a confined warm dark space for my fav. animals who had suddenly fallen ill. deathly ill. one time when the family was in crisis ( i remember that i tended to be unawaress of this stuff) we wnt for a speedy cruise in my dads new porsche, us in the back, me, my bear, and my bro (who i have no recollection of). i let my parents in the front aware that my bear was going to die because my dad was driving to fast on the curvy road. my bear died and i was crying in the back, i was feet below them, the back of the front seat towering above me.
i can readily give stories like these were i know i experienced suffering and such, yet i dont feel it still affects me, i can tell you how messed up it was, with that i agree but yet.... i am doing ok with the oast or i am i that much inflicted by it that i am now callused?
woo hoo, for long ranting posts.
Feb. 11th, 2007 07:43 am (UTC)
That is so fuuny! I used to do stuff like this, too. For some reason I constantly played doctor with my Raggedy Ann doll ---VAGINA doctor, that is! She was always on her back with her legs in imaginary stir-ups.

Feb. 11th, 2007 06:34 am (UTC)
You are brilliant and so, so right.

I feel the same way about depression- whenever I go to the doctor because I'm just feeling so low energy and the doctor asks if I'm feeling sad or hopeless, I wonder whether the man is reading the papers? Watching tv? Looking out his window (my clinic is in the center of the city, with many many homeless people around it).

(Deleted comment)
Feb. 11th, 2007 11:29 am (UTC)
Miracle Mile

That's the movie to give you the nuclear heebie jeebies.

I have it on dvd somewhere.
Feb. 12th, 2007 02:13 am (UTC)
The Moss-Colored Three-Handled Family Gradunza??? Who's that?

I've said it before and I'll say it again --You must have some type of calmness disorder.
Feb. 11th, 2007 10:23 pm (UTC)
You are too funny. I loved that grover book. Still do... I read it to my kids when they were younger (little did I know I was traumatizing them). :) We'll just add it to the years of therapy already warranted.

I had a frantic grandmother, so I always equated grover (in this book) with a hysterical old lady. Silly Grover.
Feb. 11th, 2007 11:40 pm (UTC)
Obviously the Grover book is an existential tome teaching children that we are our own monsters.
Feb. 12th, 2007 12:43 am (UTC)
Hmmm, could be. Good point.
Feb. 12th, 2007 03:14 am (UTC)
Some of those picture books confused me. Why didn't gravity work there?

"The Day After" was very emotional to me, but was nothing compared to "Soylent Green". I didn't eat for a long time after that. Every day is one day closer to that.
Feb. 17th, 2007 01:18 pm (UTC)
the big one
For a good time read "alas Babylon" by Pat Frank. I read it over thirty years ago and it still haunts me.
Feb. 18th, 2007 10:21 pm (UTC)
Re: the big one
I will read that when I get a chance. It might be a while because I have joined a book club. I am actually the moderator for this next book. It will be No Touch Monkey and Other Travel Lessons Learned Too late by Ayun Halliday. Thanks for the tip.
Feb. 15th, 2007 07:21 am (UTC)
You should check out Dr. Seuss Goes to War.

Nothing like racist propoganda cartoons from a beloved children's author to brighten your day.

Oh wait, you're already scared.
Feb. 16th, 2007 01:09 am (UTC)
I've never heard of that one. I'm not really scared anymore. Just numb.
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 10th, 2007 07:01 pm (UTC)
Yes, we all must do our part for the pharmaceutical industry. (I can see the Soviet-style propaganda poster in my head. Can you see it, too?)
( 27 comments — Leave a comment )