Now, the Star-Belly Sneetches had bellies with stars.
The Plain-Belly Sneetches had none upon thars.
Those stars weren’t so big. They were really so small.
You might think such a thing wouldn’t matter at all.
(from The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss)
“Yes, Abby, I have spots,” I agreed.
“‘nother one!” she continued, finding more.
I noted an entire solar system of freckles decorating my arm. “Yeah, I have lots of them.”
Nicki smiled at us from across the breakfast table. “She was counting my spots yesterday,” she said.
“Where are your spots?” I joked with Abby.
Her imagination kicked into overdrive as she turned away from us and looked around the room. “Spo-ots!” she called. “Where are you?” She proceeded to find some imaginary person, told him to “give back” her spots and put them in her hand. Apparently, the ”spot thief” refused, because she turned around and sighed. “All gone,” she said.
It’s very tempting to want to look like other people. To wear the right clothes, to use the right words, to befriend the right crowd. We figure that if we look like the cool, confident people, we’ll automatically inherit their “cool-ness”. Haven’t we all heard that “the clothes make the man?” And if no one will accept you without those accessories, shouldn’t you add them on, so that people will admire you?
This is how a whole community was suckered by a slick con-man in Dr. Seuss’ classic story, The Sneetches. Taking advantage of the Sneetches’ prejudiced caste society, Sylvester McMonkey McBean – the self-proclaimed “fix-it-up chappie” – rolled into town with a fancy machine that he claimed would solve all of their problems. You see, some Sneetches had stars on their bellies, while other Sneetches had no such mark. The star-bellied Sneetches figured that their markings made them more important than the plain-bellied Sneetches. The Sneetches who had “no stars upon ‘thars” became dejected. They were outcasts with no hope of ever joining the cool crowd.
But McBean’s machine would change their status forever. He had a star-making machine to stamp stars onto their bellies, providing them with instant cool-ness!
Then, quickly, Sylvester McMonkey McBean
Put together a very peculiar machine.
And he said, “You want stars like a Star-Belly Sneetch?
My friends, you can have them for three dollars each!”
Naturally, the plain-bellied Sneetches all lined up and forked over their cash to rush headlong into the machine, into their bright new future.
And it worked! They returned with stars on their bellies, to the amazement and anger of the other star-bellied Sneetches. Fortunately for the original star-bellied Sneetches, McBean’s wonderful machine could also remove stars! In went the natural-born star-bellies to remove their birthmarks, making them stand out once again from those “other” Sneetches.
“Belly stars are no longer in style”, said McBean.
“What you need is a trip through my Star-Off Machine.
This wondrous contraption will take OFF your stars
so you won’t look like Sneetches that have them on thars.”
And that handy machine working very precisely
Removed all the stars from their tummies quite nicely.
This quickly resulted in an all-out territory war, fought with money and a stamping machine. Every Sneetch ran in and out of the machine, stamping and un-stamping until … finally … no one could tell which Sneetch started out with stars and which Sneetch had not. Some had no stars left. Some had three. Some had stars on their bellies, some had stars on their behinds.
Then, when every last cent of their money was spent,
The Fix-It-Up Chappie packed up. And he went.
And he laughed as he drove In his car up the beach,
“They never will learn. No. You can’t Teach a Sneetch!”
But McMonkey McBean was wrong. The Sneetches stood around for a few moments, staring at one another in confusion. They struggled to try to distinguish one Sneetch from another, but they no longer could tell the difference.
Outward appearance is just that. It’s actually pretty easy to look good on the outside, if that’s your only goal. But good looks only take you so far in life. In Proverbs, it says, “A beautiful woman with no discretion is like a gold ring in a pig’s snout.” Having a star on your belly doesn’t make you special, any more than wearing the latest fashions or telling the funniest jokes. What makes you special are the things no one can see at first glance. Love. Loyalty. Acceptance of others. Don’t put on a star to look like everyone else. Be yourself, and give people time to see your uniqueness.
It would be a very boring world if we all wore the same stars on our bellies.
Find more reviews of The Sneetches and Other Stories on amazon.com!
Thursday, June 25th, 2009