If you didn't get Dr. Seuss's "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" as a graduation gift, then you just haven't graduated yet. It's an inspiring book for the newly matriculated, to encourage them to chase after their dreams.
It contains more pleasant lies than there are in your family photo albums.
(Via Random House)
Here's a (mostly) line-by-line examination of the book reflecting a more, well, realistic worldview.
"Congratulations! Today is your day. You're off to Great Places! You're off and away!"
Not so fast. Your parents will take you out to a tedious “celebration dinner" after graduation, and getting Grandma back to the home is going to be a whole thing. The hardest part is pretending to be genuinely moved and pleased with all 10 relatives who gave you Oh, the Places You'll Go! as a graduation gift.
“You're on your own. And you know what you know."
You are on your own, and what you know is the bare minimum that got you an undergraduate degree in…oh no, Liberal Arts!
“And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go."
Any number of internship coordinators and hiring managers decide where you'll go.
“With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, you're too smart to go down any not-so-good street"
Your monthly share of the rent on your studio apartment is $1,700. It's located on Not-So-Good Street.
“You'll head straight out of town."
It's an overcrowded, low-paying job market out there, and you can't afford both food and fancy resume paper. So try your luck in another city. Like your hometown. You're moving back in with your parents is what we're saying.
Elephants and canopies. Your twenties, amirite? (Via Random House)
“Out there things can happen and frequently do to people as brainy and footsy as you."
They sure do. To people like you. But who are not necessarily you.
"You won't lag behind, because you'll have the speed. You'll pass the whole gang and you'll soon take the lead."
Your mom ran into Sheila at the pharmacy. You know, your old overachieving sort-of-friend's mom? Anyway, your overachieving sort-of-friend is doing very well for himself, and Sheila and your mom are just sure he could help you get your foot in the door somewhere.
"Except when you don't. Because, sometimes, you won't."
"You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch. You'll be left in a lurch."
Prickle-Ly Perch is the bank you got your students loan with. Lurch is the name of a local bar that was hiring.
“And when you're in a slump, you're not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done."
Thanks to Obamacare, you can stay on your parents' health insurance until age 26, and that includes therapy.
“You will come to a place where the streets are not marked. Some windows are lighted. But mostly they're darked."
Cool! You got a job in an office. You're not sure what it is they do here, and your job consists primarily of inputting data in a cubicle in a windowless room in a sea of other cubicles, but hey, if you really think about it, it's kind of in your field of study, right?
“You'll get so confused that you'll start in to race down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place."
You got promoted at your mind-numbing office job, because you are really good at tedious, repetitive, unimportant work. Congratulations?
"Now here's a look at the morning commute." (Via Random House)
“The Waiting Place…for people just waiting. Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting."
You've made it! You're an important member of the American workforce. Go to work, go home, go to sleep, do it all over again, and shut up.
“Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake."
You've got a sweet 9 to 5 but are too tired to actually go do anything on the weekends. And your new apartment eats up a lot of dough. TGI Netflix!
“Somehow you'll escape all that waiting and staying. You'll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing."
Sure, you're still young and cool and still know what bands are cool. You will go see one at a dark, smoky, noisy club and it will be terrible and will make you feel old.
“There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all. Fame! You'll be famous as famous can be, with the whole wide world watching you win on TV."
After all, the world desperately needs another blog and/or web series.
"All Alone" if your roommate would learn how to knock maybe. (Via Random House)
“All Alone! Whether you like it or not, Alone will be something you'll be quite a lot. And when you're alone, there's a very good chance you'll meet things that scare you right out of your pants."
“You'll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go."
“And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed)
[Success not guaranteed.]
So…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea, you're off to Great Places! Today is your day!
Oh, you're from that prominent family. Oh, the places you'll go!