“Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.” ― Dr. Seuss
On this day in 1991, Theodor Seuss Geisel died at the age of eighty-seven.
It is hard to think there was a time when there was NO Dr. Seuss.
“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
His first children's book, To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street (1937) was rejected by twenty-seven publishers.
But over the next fifty years he would write and illustrate forty-eight books,
collect a Pulitzer, two Emmys and three Oscars,
and make the more lasting household contributions of Horton, Yertle, the Cat in the Hat.
Imagine if he had stopped with the 26th publisher!
He only knew 26 publishers!
He met a friend on the street
to whom he confided his lost dream.
His friend had just become a publisher!
And the rest is history!
The evolution of the "Dr. Seuss" pseudonym began during Geisel's senior year at Dartmouth College.
When the dean forced him to resign his editorship of the school's humor magazine
as punishment for having too much fun and too few marks, Geisel continued to contribute as "Ted Seuss."
The name and word fun reflects a streak of whimsy and putting-one-over that lasted a lifetime and became a mission.
When Geisel was a student at Oxford, and banned by school regulations from driving a motorcycle,
he tied dead ducks to his handlebars to pass his vehicle off as that of a poultry deliveryman.
When living in New York City and finding himself with a telephone number one digit different from a local fish market,
he would send his own cardboard fish to those who called him with their order.
When trying to quit smoking in his fifties,
he carried a corncob pipe empty of tobacco but full of dirt, in which he had planted radish seeds.
He would suck on the pipe while riding the bus, stopping every now and then to take out an eyedropper of water and squeeze a few drops into the bowl.
To anyone who took the bait he would explain that he was "Watering the radishes."
At eighty-two, he published his last book, You're Only Old Once,
and told reporters that "Age has no effect on me. I surf as much as I ever have. I climb Mount Everest as much as I ever have...."
May we all endeavor to have a bit of that kind of spirit!