One of the more memorable Dr. Seuss books from my childhood was "Did I Ever Tell You How Luck You Are," which begins:
When I was quite young
and quite small for my size,
I met an old man in the Desert of Drize.
And he sang me a song I will never forget.
At least, well, I haven't forgotten it yet.
The old man who is sitting precariously perched atop a cactus tells the young wide-eyed narrator:
When you think things are bad,
when you feel sour and blue,
when you start to get mad...
you should do what I do!
Just tell yourself, Duckie,
you're really quite lucky!
Some people are much more...
oh, ever so much more...
oh, muchly much-much more
unlucky than you!
The rest of the book is filled with example after example of characters in unfortunate and miserable situations. Think "Dirty Jobs" Dr. Seuss style. Yesterday, at the KU Natural History Museum, I saw a real life job that reminded me of the ones created in the book.
I feel so muchly much-much more lucky than the guy who has to clean tanks on the 6th floor snake exhibit. Although, I'm glad he has the job (and he appeared to enjoy it), because it provided great entertainment value for us. We went from cage to cage and watched through two layers of glass as he woke up a sleeping copperhead, unraveled a tiny bull snake from an artificial shrubbery, scooped up a water mocassin with a pole not nearly long enough, and kept a very close eye on a timber rattlesnake while he removed two dead mice from his lair.
What was really rewarding, was to watch the excitement and surprise from all the children in our group as he reached in and grabbed each snake. They were truly in awe as he calmly handled each snake. And then the real delightful moment happened. Once he had finished the last tank, my son said to all his friends, "Hey, let's go down to the door and when he comes out, let's all applaud."
Twelve children from 5-14 gathered in a small group and waited for a minute or two. When the twenty-something snake handler finally emerged from the restricted area, the children clapped and cheered. He smiled and took at brief bow.
Maybe he gets that kind of recognition everyday, but he truly looked surprised. I was proud of my son for recommending it, and really proud of all the children for sharing their gratitude. I felt ever so much-much, so muchly much-much more lucky to witness such spontaneous appreciation.