on July 8, 2004
ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN
by Robert Fulghum is a collection of essays that reflect the author's thoughts on life, death and a whole lot of other subjects in-between.
So when I saw the 15th Anniversary Edition I naturally had to get hold of and then devour it . . . and am glad I did . . . it's GREAT!
It is also quite different . . . or as the subtitle indicates, it is "reconsidered, revised, and expanded with 25 new essays."
I liked all the new entries, but also got a kick out of revisiting the old ones . . . it was like being with friends I haven't seen before.
Fulghum is that kind of author . . . once you read him, you'll
want to get everything else he has written: IT WAS ON FIRE
WHEN I LAY DOWN ON IT, UH-OH and MAYBE (MAYBE
NOT) . . . you won't be disappointed in any of these, nor with
his latest work either.
There were several memorable passages in the 15th Edition that
I had not come across before; among them:
* "And so then what happened?"
An urgent question out of the bedtime darkness, asked by my children, when they and I were young. Just when I thought I had slam-dunked a story-ending-just when I was certain the children were safely in the arms of the sandman--a small, sleepy voice would plead, "So, then what happened?" And no matter what I replied, the plea went on, "Please, please, Daddy--tell the rest of the story."
In cranky desperation, I would resort to apocalypse: "Suddenly a
comet hit the earth and blew everything to pieces."
Silence. "What happened to the pieces?"
"It doesn't matter. Everybody died a horrible death, especially
all the little children who were not asleep." I also tried, "The father sold all the children who would not go to sleep to a passing gypsy who ground them into sausage meat. The first children to be ground up were those who would not stop asking questions."
Go ahead, shame me. But it worked. Most of the time. On reflection, I suspect such gory endings were what they really liked most. Perhaps it was a scheme to see just how far I would go--to see how crazed their father really was.
Now I am dealing with grandchildren who have the same restless
minds. I am wilier now than I used to be. To the inevitable request for more, I reply, "Only your father knows the rest of the story. Ask him to finish it when you get home."
* Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret
weapon. A happiness weapon. A Beauty Bomb. And every time a
crisis developed, we would launch one first--before we tried
anything else. It would explode high in the air--explode softly--and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth--boxes of Crayolas. And we shouldn't go cheap either--not little boxes of eight. Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest. And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the word with imagination instead
of death. A child who touched one wouldn't have his hand blown off.
* I recall an old Sufi story of a good man who was granted one
wish by God. The man said he would like to go about doing good
without knowing about it. God granted his wish. And then God
decided that it was such a good idea, he would grant that wish to
all human beings.
And so it has been to this day.