Last night, while I lay thinking here,
some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
and pranced and partied all night long
and sang their same old Whatif song:
Whatif I'm dumb in school?
Whatif they've closed the swimming pool?
Whatif I get beat up?
Whatif there's poison in my cup?
Whatif I start to cry?
Whatif I get sick and die?
Whatif I flunk that test?
Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
Whatif nobody likes me?
Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?
Whatif I don't grow taller?
Whatif my head starts getting smaller?
Whatif the fish won't bite?
Whatif the wind tears up my kite?
Whatif they start a war?
Whatif my parents get divorced?
Whatif the bus is late?
Whatif my teeth don't grow in straight?
Whatif I tear my pants?
Whatif I never learn to dance?
Everything seems well, and then
the nighttime Whatifs strike again!
Oh Shel, Shel ... what an amazing life. So many of us know Shel Silverstein's name from Where the Sidewalk Ends and A Light in the Attic, but did you also know the Shel wrote the song, A Boy Named Sue, and one of my all-time favorites from childhood, Boa Constrictor, both performed by Johnny Cash? Or One's On the Way for you Loretta Lynn fans.
I saw Julie and Julia tonight starring Meryl Streep. [Excellent movie BTW.] Streep sings another of Shel's songs in Postcards From The Edge. I'm Checking Out ends the movie.
What a big life.
I started out wanting to write about the poem ... the whatifs that plague us/me each day. He hits both the minor (Whatif the bus is late) and major (Whatif I get sick and die). I simply never realized the size of his life before. The contributions he made. The lives he touched in so many different formats. What a life.
We worry about so many inconsequential things in our lives. So many whatifs that never happen. So many whatifs that keep us from pursuing our dreams in the first place.
Whatifs never stopped Shel Silverstein. Whatifs never had a chance.
Whatif we could all have as big a life?