Our personal peccadillos can often be traced back to our childhood when experiences are deep in our mushy brains. But it is often not clear which small and / or random event triggers people’s many kinks, obsessions and phobias. In other cases, causality is straightforward because if a sensitive, artistic boy yells at President Theodore ‘The Bull Moose’ to get off the stage, you’d better believe the child will develop some lifelong trauma
It is common knowledge that Dr. Seuss wasn’t a doctor, but he wasn’t a Seuss either. Born Theodor Geisel (Seuss was his mother’s name), the future bizarre Rhymer, grew up German-American in the USA Shadow of the First World War. The Geisels did not fare well under the national anti-German mood of “real” Americans, who viewed every Fritz and Jane as an enemy and, in the tradition of this particular American patriotism brand, renamed sauerkraut to “freedom cabbage”.
But the hostage was bleeding red, white, and blue (three colors that Seuss often saw when he was pursued by brick-built thugs). To prove this, a 14-year-old Seuss began selling war bonds through his scout troops. His biggest customer was his own grandfather, who spent $ 1,000 (which you could buy with money in 1918 a lot of cocaine) to convince their neighbors that their house was not worth arson. The tactic paid off: Seuss became one of the top ten salespeople who received a medal for every boy in the country from none other than former President Teddy Roosevelt, the cartoon alligator wrestler and hero.
While George Seuss had undoubtedly looked forward to his (almost) namesake having a medal for the best American on his skinny chest, the event took a turn for the worst. When the 60-year-old TD reached Lil ‘Seuss, he had no more medals to award – you could have lost your way in his massive cheeks. Roosevelt, a calm and measured man, immediately thought the boy had either been brought there by mistake or had snuck up on the stage. The walking symbol of hyper-Americanism dealt with no other scenarios than thinking of one or two and demanded that the only German-American boy be removed from the stage. “What is this little boy doing here?” Roosevelt thundered. The humiliating interjection spat out his pain with spit.