Thursday, December 1, 2011

Meditations on The Grinch

As I indulged in my annual viewing of Dr. Suess' How the Grinch Stole Christmas the other night, I watched it from a different perspective than ever before.  Perhaps because I have done so much work on myself in the last few months, I started to see the Grinch less as a misshapen, green cartoon character and more a symbol of the isolated, angry, frightened sabateur in all of us.  Something of a universal inner child, really. Sure, the Grinch threw a Who-wrench into Christmas morning.  In fact, he left the Whos without ribbons.  He left them without tags. He left them without packages, boxes or bags.  But, as everyone knows, Chrismas in Whoville could not be stopped. Christmas, as always, "came, just the same." 

As a child, I was hanuted by how seemingly unaware the Whos were when they awoke to the dark and empty Christmas morning.  Their ritualistic singing circle and vacant smiles scared rather than inspired me.  They seemed lifeless as they joined hands and swayed to lyrics I couldn't understand.  How do you explain such apparent contentment in the absence of gifts?  Why would these people unite in oblivion after such an un-merry violation of their town, their streets, their homes?  Yet so many of the things that once scared, and disturbed, and confused me live within a broader context now;  I aim for compassion rather than falling mindlessly into judgement.  I value integrity over possessions.  And, for the most part, the things I cherish most cannot be stolen from me.  Not without my permission.

In the interest of compassion and understanding and appreciating the broader context, I'd like to look beyond human behavior and into the human condition.  And I'd like to suggest that the Grinch didn't set out to steal anything. Rather, he was merely trying to cope with unresolved issues through various means of self sabotage.  Certainly, his was an exercise in futility, but a valuable lesson learned.  If only life could  always sort itself out in 25 commercial-free minutes.

So, here's the challenge: The next time you watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas, practice compassion.  Understanding. Maybe even a little appreciation.  Can you see the Grinch as protagonist rather than antagonist?  Is it possible to see him as both?  Is it ever possible to only see one without the other?

  • The fact that the Grinch's heart grew three sizes in one day substantiates the correlation between congestive heart failure and a negative outlook. 
  • As an "apple" with excessive abdominal girth, the Grinch is most certainly a stroke risk battling metabolic syndrome and unstable insulin levels.
  • The Grinch's talent with a needle and thread (Exhibit A: Max the Dog's reindeer costume) suggests an unrealized artistic talent that inevitably leads to his physical and emotional displacement on top of a mountain, removed from all Whoman contact.

In other words, give the guy a break, already.  Your inner child will thank you.

Just in case you missed it this week - enjoy How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  Who knows?  Maybe you'll see a different version this time around.



  1. Interesting twist I will have to try to see it differently the next millionth time I watch it with my little man! LMAO

  2. Have you ever seen the live version with Jim Carey? It approaches the Grinch from this angle.

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