Sunday, December 22, 2013

Your heart is full of unwashed socks...

If I had to choose a favorite movie played at this time of year, I'd choose It's a Wonderful Life. The Dude would choose Love, Actually. Leo's doesn't care for TV, and Maggie didn't for years, but now I'm sure she would choose How the Grinch Stole Christmas. No Jim Carrey version; the animated one with Boris Karloff narrating is the one we prefer.

She's loved the book for years, but this is the first year that it occurred to me we could play her the cartoon. Without exaggeration, I can say she shrieked with laughter. She loved the whole thing, but it was Max, the dog, who captured her heart.


I was most taken with the lyrics to the songs. I mean, the insults in the famous You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch... are quite creative and surprisingly detailed (source).

You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch
You really are a heel,
You're as cuddly as a cactus, you're as charming as an eel, Mr. Grinch,
You're a bad banana with a greasy black peel!

You're a monster, Mr. Grinch,
Your heart's an empty hole,
Your brain is full of spiders, you have garlic in your soul, Mr. Grinch,
I wouldn't touch you with a thirty-nine-and-a-half foot pole!

You're a foul one, Mr. Grinch,
You have termites in your smile,
You have all the tender sweetness of a seasick crocodile, Mr. Grinch,
Given a choice between the two of you I'd take the seasick crocodile!

You're a rotter, Mr. Grinch,
You're the king of sinful sots,
Your heart's a dead tomato splotched with moldy purple spots, Mr. Grinch,
You're a three decker sauerkraut and toadstool sandwich with arsenic sauce!

With a nauseous super "naus"!,
You're a crooked dirty jockey and you drive a crooked hoss, Mr. Grinch,
Your soul is an appalling dump heap overflowing with the most disgraceful
assortment of rubbish imaginable mangled up in tangled up knots!

You're a foul one, Mr. Grinch,
You're a nasty wasty skunk,
Your heart is full of unwashed socks, your soul is full of gunk, Mr. Grinch,
The three words that best describe you are as follows, and I quote,
"Stink, stank, stunk"!

In my research into these lyrics, I discovered that it is not Boris Karloff singing. He couldn't sing. Instead it's Thurl Ravenscroft. Never heard of him? But you have! He's the voice of Tony the Tiger, who claimed of Frosted Flakes, "Theeeeeeeey're GREAT!" A little trivia to impress at parties.

The more I read back story here, the more I wondered about Ted Geisel, himself. He was indeed 53 when he wrote The Grinch (same as the Grinch), and he said he identified with the character. Which, of course, might just mean he was anti-consumerism rather than a full-out grinch. That stance would certainly jive with his beliefs about nuclear war (The Butter Battle Book) and environmentalism (The Lorax).

Other interesting Ted Geisel facts (courtesy of

1. He attended Dartmouth and Oxford (though he did not finish his degree at Oxford). At Dartmouth, he got kicked off the magazine staff after he was found drinking in his dorm room with friends (Prohibition).

2. He worked in advertising before becoming a children's book author, and he made a nationally famous ad for Flit, an insecticide.

3. He wrote The Cat in the Hat in response to a challenge to write a children's primer using 220 vocabulary words.

4. He totally John Edwards-ed his wife (yes, she even had cancer at the time) with a family friend, and then his wife committed suicide. That one, I wish I didn't know.

I've read him described as somewhat curmudgeonly, but I bet I would be too if I were a famous children's book author. Oh, the noise, noise, noise, NOISE!

But, to cheer ourselves back up, here's a great conversation between Brian and Maggie while they were watching The Grinch one afternoon:

Brian: Who's the Grinch dressing up as?

Maggie: A pig!

Brian: A pig?

Maggie: Yes!

Brian: Huh. Let's watch.

Brian: Now look at the Grinch. Who is he dressed as?

Maggie: A pig!

Brian: OK, a pig it is.

What can I say? The girl has a lot of learn about pop culture.


  1. Absolutely my all-time favorite - and no, not the Jim Carrey. I did know it was Thurl Ravenscroft but here's a funny one - whenever I try to think of his name, my brain does this..."OK, it's not Boris Karloff that sings the song...who is it?...Strom Thurmond!" Yeah, no. :) I was delighted when we introduced Kidzilla to this video and now she also loves it. She loves the song, too!

    Have a very happy Christmas!

  2. Very evocative - a heart full of unwashed socks. I can relate to that.

    But I enjoyed the conversation about the pig :)

  3. he is, Theodore Geisel, is from my home town. oddly I didn't meet him there I met him in San Diego. It was at the opening 2 one of his shows. And he was indeed curmudgeonly to say the least.

  4. Two things: that outfit is a little like Olivia's, and isn't fact #3 about Green Eggs and Ham? Scott says I'm wrong, and who am I to question my sister?

    1. I always heard that Green Eggs and Ham was a bet with someone (his publisher?) who said he couldn't write a book with fifty words or less.


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