Let the Wild Rumpus Start!
A final note to you, Maurice Sendak, before you pass over to the great beyond.
Thank you for the nightmares, ol’ buddy.
Thank you for scaring the crap out of me.
Thank you for drawing the most frightening creatures I had ever before seen on a page.
Particularly this guy:
Who looked like a cross between Jesus and Grendel. With maybe a hint of my hippie uncle Gary.
Way back then, I didn’t like boys. I didn’t like monsters.
And I especially didn’t like boys pretending to be monsters.
But I liked books. And I loved your book.
I loved that you got me, that you got kids.
Because even at age five, I knew better. Even I knew we were not Dick and Jane. We were not snips and snails and puppy dog tails. We were not sugar and spice.
Unless you threw all of those into a bass-o-matic blender. And then poured ’em over ice. On a good day. Then yes. We were that.
We could be lovable, but we could be unlovable. We could be wicked.
And I knew a thing or two about being wicked.
Max chased his dog with a fork.
I shut my cat in a laundry hamper. And then rolled her down the stairs.
(Though I’ll stand firm that I showed her a good time, that she said “Wheeeee!” all the way down.)
And sometimes when I got mad, I wanted to sail away and be called the most wild thing of all. But only if I got to wear the crown. And only if the monsters wore barrettes in their hair. And only if the monsters would pretend to be unicorns once in a while.
Max’s way was better. Max’s way was “healthy.” Why not grow a forest in your room? Why not sail off to where the wild things are? That’s the way to go.
My way was to throw Legos against the door, throw my clothes onto the floor, turn my radio up full blast . . . and then nap.
I could’ve used a wild rumpus or two.
I hope you’re off to a wild rumpus or two.
I hope you’ll find your supper waiting for you.
I hope it’s still hot.