04 July 2010

Giving Tree, feh

I found out today that it was Shel Silverstein who had ruined my life.

Dig this, my cats and kittens: you are a small child. Adults keep coming up to you, bending over but looming large like Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloons and grinning oddly as they ask, over and over, the same demented question: "Are you a boy named Sue? How do you do?"

Your young brain can't process it. You KNOW you aren't a boy. You don't LOOK like a boy. Sue is not a boy's name. And yet, the question comes again and again. What the everloving hell is going on with these large, apparently incredibly stupid people?

In case you are not aged and decrepit, let me present Mr. Johnny Cash:

Since my family rarely played music in the house, I hadn't heard the song. I didn't know what the adults were asking me or how to respond. I'm pretty sure that "A Boy Named Sue" is what has given me the lifelong feeling that most adults have something seriously wrong with their heads.

(See also: unmarried, loves dogs and cats).

Today I found out that, while the song's popularity may be the fault of the talented Mr. Cash, the lyrics were by Shel Silverstein, he of "The Giving Tree," which, in my mind, is one of the most messed-up books ever written and certainly not suitable for children.

I mean....c'mon!

I GUESS "The Giving Tree" is supposed to be a tender exploration of motherhood and how parents sacrifice everything for their ungrateful bastard children. It always seemed pretty dang creepy to me, though. Can't the tree survive and grow a little taller and prouder and have the child come back for weekends and holidays?

But no. Instead, we have "The Giving Stump." That tells me a lot about how Shel Silverstein's mind worked, and so does "A Boy Named Sue." I wish he would have just gotten an office job and a blog, instead.


Dave2 said...

I always thought "The Giving Tree" was one of the most awful stories ever.

But a pretty good reflection of humanity, sadly.

{sue} said...

Yes! From another girl named Sue who DID look like a boy. And can I add how 'effed up The Missing Piece is too?

Elvie said...

Never did understand the lure of Silverstein.

Skye @ Planet Jinxatron said...

The Giving Tree and that horrible Rainbow Fish book are both really, really scary.

pero said...

Regarding the story itself, people are indeed brutal, and are generally wasteful and mindless when it comes to the earth's resources.

Other than that, I keep coming back to see if Shel possibly "googled" himself, found this blog, and attempted to redeem himself in comments.

I am not sure what is more depressing... the story itself, or the fact that he hasn't?

angel apologist said...

I was exactly the kind of snotty, all-attitude book store clerk who would violently roll my eyes whenever someone brought the Silverstein books to the counter.

Suzanne said...

I just forwarded this to several of my friends at work. I've never thought much about The Giving Tree, but after reading this, I wonder if it left a negative impression on my developing brain about parenthood that made me not want kids. In Silverstein's defense, though, I really enjoyed "A Light in the Attic" and "Where the Sidewalk Ends."

All of this just makes me extremely excited to see you in a few weeks!!!

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