by Andrew Piskai
To our respective inner children,
People often criticize Dr. Seuss. After all, he did touch an extraordinary amount of children. Even more than my Uncle Jim. However, despite his alleged knack for the grappling of children, Dr. Seuss and my Uncle Jim have accomplished astounding feats in their lifetimes. Dr. Seuss wrote over 60 children books, and my uncle has managed to go through most of his life without the third and fourth fingers on his left hand. I write to you today though not to compare and contrast my esteemed Uncle Jim to the late great Theodor Geisel, but rather to discuss one of the great Seuss works with regard to its legacy on modern American literature.
As the story of The Lorax goes, there was an evil Once-ler who cut down a metric shit-ton of Truffula Trees in order to make bank off selling Thneeds. In the process, he destroyed the entire Brown Barbaloot Bear population, almost completely eradicated the Truffula Trees, and retired to a solitary life at the top of a large tower. While this was going on, a mustached ball of fuzz by the name of the Lorax tried to tell the Once-ler what a dick he was being. However, despite the Lorax’s sincerest attempts, the evil Once-ler continued Thneed production until an exasperated Lorax flew away. Shitty ending to a great story, huh?
They say I’m no longer allowed within 500 feet of young children. They also say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. There is no clearer evidence of this second fact than in the case of the Lorax. As touching as it is in its own right, the story of the Lorax has prompted a series of award winning spinoffs. The equation “The Lorax = Once-ler + Brown Barbaloot Bears + Truffula Trees + Thneeds(A.K.A. an X-Factor)” has become the model for every innovation since 1847. Take the following for example:
The Lurax = Once-convicted-felon-ler + Brown Barbazoot Suit + Rufie-a Trees + “Hey kid you want some candy?”
The Snorlax = Once-snoozing-roadblocker + Brown Bulbasaur Bears + Viridian Forest + One Pokéball
The Whorax = One-night-stander + Brown Barbados Hairs + Truffalatex + “She might be a man”
The Chlorox = Once-spilled-shit-on-her + Brown Barbaroot beer + Ruff-a-to Clean + Bleach
The Exlax = Once-a-week-stooler + Brown Barbapoop Stains +Tuff-flush Febreeze + proximity-to-a-toilet
K-Pax = Once-played-in-a-theater + Brown Barbaloot Aliens + Truffu-light Travel + Kevin Spacey
Boratx = Once-was-funnier + Chocolate-Face Barbaloot Bears + Truffalalalina + Kazakhstan
Warsawpax = Once-USSR + Actual Bears + Truffula Treaties + Communists
While none of these rivaled the popularity of the original Lorax, they are no doubt all delightful. If you read them you would agree. Trust me. Uncle Jim wrote most of them. They’re on reserve at Van Pelt. You’re there enough anyway– maybe you can read them, you know? Do something more productive than hitting on Mark in his café.