Monday February 24, 2003 11:27 PM
One fish, Two fish

I derive a great deal of enjoyment from reading books to Isaiah. I probably enjoy reading to him as much as he enjoys me reading to him. He likes books, too.

Tonight I heard him say something that made me very happy- something which I am sure very few kids in our modern society would ever say. He said "Let's turn off the TV now and read some books." Of course, I was delighted to comply with this request.

His first choice was from a line wich brings me extra special delight since I can remember reading (and having them read to me) when I was around his age, it was "One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish" by Dr. Suess.

As we read it together, each page I turned brought before my eyes creatures and situations of surreal silliness the sight of which resonated with remembered emotions from my youth.

I remember the car the fish is driving on the bottom of the 3rd page. I thought it was pretty cool looking when I was little. I remember the intense sympathetic reaction that was always generated by the scene on page 5 of the very, very bad fish knocking down a smaller fish- I always wanted to sock the bad fish right in the gills and grab the little fish's fin and help him up. I always wanted to have a flying machine like the guy (More accurately, the thing- it isn't human though it has a face and is humanoid. What is it? I can't say with any more detail than some non-specified denizen of the Suessian psyche...) on the top right corner of page 13 has. With almost every turn of the page a long forgotten memory came rushing forward to remind me of my enjoyment of this very same book so many years ago. "The Cat in the Hat" and "Hop on Pop" do the same thing.

The only Dr. Suess book in Isaiah's personal library, and he does have enough books to qualify for description as possessing a personal library, that doesn't have a similar effect on me is "Fox in Socks". I don't remember ever reading this book as a kid. In fact, I think I read it for the first time only some months ago. It's become one of my favorites, though, due mainly to the fact that it is rather, shall we say, challenging. Every time I read it I try to go as fast as possible with as few mistakes as I can make.

"Come on," you say, "I've read Dr. Suess books before. They aren't that hard." To which I would reply that that only thing that slows me down on "The Cat in the Hat" is the physical requirement of respiration. I can sizzle through it at the speed of sound. You're right, it's not that hard and Isaiah and I get kick out of racing through it. "Fox in Socks", however, is a little different- there's a reader's discretionary warning in the front of it: "Warning dangerous curves ahead" and it's right.

My tongue, on the best day, is facile enough to create the correct phonemes in the proper order at a sufficient speed, but the several vignettes of Suess's peculiar genius contained in the book have been carefully and cunningly constructed with such diabolical deviousness that, in the parts easy to actually say, great brainpower is required to get the words in the right order and in the parts that are easy to formulate in the speech centers of the brain, great skill is required to contort the mouth to properly keep up with the thoughts.

Which is a lot of words to say I can do it right or I can do it fast, but I haven't gotten enough practice yet to get it right and fast.

Ah, well, everyone must have goals, I suppose.