I wrote this post almost a year ago. I have to say, my rewriting of this beloved children’s book really helped my family.
As promised, I have been an asshole back to my kid since writing Mom Discovers A New Ailment. I did not pick him/her up from the bus stop a few times, I acted less interested in his/her day. I stopped asking him/her “what’s wrong” all the time. Basically, I tried to not let his/her attitude bother me so much, and I didn’t go out of my way for the kid. I gotta say that kid’s attitude has approved a bit, could be coincidence, could be I resolved to not get so crazy. Not sure. I will take credit though.
So there’s this great show on Broadway called Wicked. It’s based of The Wizard of Oz but the author makes a brilliant twist. In Wicked, Glinda the good witch is actually the opportunistic biotch and the bad witch is actually misunderstood and quite nice. It’s amazing and I thought the author was so smart to take a beloved story and change a few things to achieve a different outcome.
For some reason, I thought about this musical after I wrote my Assholitis article.
Thinking about Wicked and the twists and turns, I started to think about The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. Everyone has read this book. Studies and lectures have been written about this book. So we all know there was a tree and a little boy and the little boy loves the tree and the tree loves the little boy until the boy gets older and starts depleting said tree of it’s branches and apples, and eventually it’s trunk, until one day, the tree is but a stump.
My interpretation of this book is like many others’ in that the relationship of the tree and boy is that of a parent and child. So my sick brain starts to picture a stump with two saline implants left on it! That in the end, as a mother of three, I will end up a stump with fake boobs.
I then decide I should take one of the most beloved books ever written and try to change it up a little. Add a few twists if you will.
Boy: I want to buy things and have fun. I want some money. Can you give me money?
Tree: Take my apples, Boy, and sell them in the city. Then you will have money and you will be happy.
Tree: I understand you want to go have fun and have money. But you should work for it. If you babysit this little fern I know, I wll let you take my apples to make money.
Boy: Tru dat Tree. I should learn the value of a dollar. I will babysit the fern.
Tree: Come boy, climb up my trunk and swing from my branches and be happy.
Boy: I am too busy to climb trees. I want a house to keep me warm, I want a wife and I want children, and so I need a house. Can you give me a house?
Tree: Boy, you are sort of starting to piss me off. You don’t come around and talk to me, and when you do, you just want something from me and then you are happy. How about you come around for dinner some time, sit with me, and ask me about my day? Boy, it can’t just be about you.
Boy: I never looked at it that way Tree. You are right. Thanks for telling me how you feel. Sorry for taking advantage of you.
You see, if Tree had some balls, and let the Boy know he didn’t like how he was acting, that he felt taken advantage of, maybe Boy wouldn’t have acted so selfish. And Tree wouldn’t have ended up the stump.
And this is where we arrive at the After School Special moment of the story. Maybe the ailment of assholitis is partially my fault. Maybe I haven’t sent strong enough a message how I feel about it. If I just make a few twists in my story, the ending will be different as well.
So my friends, The Giving Tree is a lovely book, but I think the Tree was a bit of a whimp. Don’t you? I also think I should never become a children’s author. Although, “What The Fuck, Tree?” is a catchy title.