Sneetches Ain’t Snitches

I have an old and complex relationship with Dr. Seuss’ Sneetches.  Do you remember the Sneetches?

Some had stars on their bellies, and some did not.  The starred shunned the bare until an enterprising gentleman (named Sylvester McMonkey McBean, no less) came to town with a machine that could put stars on any Sneetches willing to pay.  And so all the bare became starred, which angered the naturally starred, who naturally went through the machine themselves to be de-starred, so that they could be superior to the newly starred. Then the Sneetches who had bought stars suddenly wanted them removed, and the cycle continued until everyone lost track of who was starred and who was not and who was superior and who was not.  And they all became friends in the end.

I don’t remember ever reading the book, but I definitely watched the movie, because most of my 8th grade softball season was spent in the outfield with my friend Michaela, reenacting The Sneetches.  Specifically, we liked to scissor our legs and thrust imaginary sticks in the air: “A toast, raise your marshmallow stick, a toast!  Raise your good fellow stick!”  (That song, of course, is from the part where the originally starred Sneetches are having a marshmallow roast, while the star-less watch glumly from the shadows).

We were MVPs, obviously.

Years later, deep in the throes of high school, I was delighted (and a little shocked) to discover a Sneetch in the English faculty lounge.  It was during Speech practice, and I was in the lounge looking for tape or some such thing.  The Sneetch was stuffed and yellow and starred (just like the movie).  He was also inside what looked like a plastic bird cage.  He was blinged out with a large gold necklace, sunglasses, and a cap tilted sideways.   Taped to the front of the cage was a small sign that read “Sneetches Ain’t Snitches.”

I never found out what that means, but wiser words, I suspect, have never been spoken;  nothing is certain but death, taxes, and Sneetches.


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