Happy Birthday to Seuss

Did I ever tell you how lucky you are?It's Dr. Seuss' birthday today, so I've decided to tell you a story. I have lots of stories about how Dr. Seuss has made a difference in my life, but this is one of my favorites.

Picture this: I'm a freshman in college at Eastern Washington University. I'm in my first quarter, it is winter and I am just starting to think that college might not be as terrible and scarring as I thought it would be. I take the bus to school and I am paranoid about being late for class, so I take the bus which gets me there half an hour early for my music appreciation class.

My class is taught by a grad student majoring in jazz. He comes in every morning with a venti coffee and a glazed expression. He tells us all about the gigs he plays late into the night. He does not like the fact that he has to teach this class. He is paying his dues.

Because I am always there early, and he is too, we talk and listen to music. Because I have always been a befriender of teachers, I introduced myself on the first day of class and we became friends.

On Dr. Seuss' birthday, that year, I brought a book along with me to school: Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? One of my favorite Seuss books.

I did not ask permission, just waited for him to come in with his coffee and then read him the book aloud. It's a book about how much worse things could be, about complaining, and perspective. I read it to him and he smiled.


After that class was long over and I was getting ready to transfer out of that school, I met again with that grad student, who had become my friend. We hadn't seen each other much since class had finished, and he told that during that class his wife had left him unexpectedly and he'd gone through a painful divorce (are there other kinds?).

I thought back to that day, Dr. Seuss' birthday, and reading to him about how lucky he was while his world fell apart. I think that sometimes things are just how they should be, even when they seem all topsy turvy, misshapen and odd. Maybe I wouldn't have read him that book if I'd known more about his life. Maybe that was the point.