“I am Sam.”
Now in all truth, I am not Sam, nor do I hold any of the general characteristics that one might associate with a Sam and yet I find in those six simple letters (or four since some of them repeat) a declaration that has helped to define my notions of love and governed my actions in the, as people pretending to be French say, “affairz of zee heart,” since I was a child. For you see, these words form the opening line to Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham, a literary opus to romance and courtship.
Certainly there have been other, more famous romantic pieces of literature, say Wuthering Heights or anything with Fabio on the cover. I am quite certain though that Dr. Seuss, in his tale of two people and an odd-colored piece of meat, has fashioned one of the most powerful stories ever of the lengths love takes you and in doing so, has taught generations about the true nature of romance.
For those of you without children or books about poultry, Green Eggs and Ham is the story of Sam who uses the title objects to woo and eventually win the affection of his love. Put simply, it’s the tale of one person and the often extraordinary means they undergo to win the heart of another. Is that not what true love, or at least what a standard movie says love is? What I came to understand later in life, after heartbreaks and happiness, was how true the books’ portrayal of love is.
In evidence, I offer these quotes. Who amongst us has never uttered at least one of the following statements in their quest for romance:
“Would you like them here, or there?”
“Say! In the dark! Here, in the dark!”
“Would you, could you, with a goat?”
“Thank you, oh thank you!”
“Say, I like them.”
“Would you, could you.”
The words echo through the pages, not as the cry of some mad chef but as a lovelorn call from a man, pleading with someone to take a chance on him. According to Sam, when it comes to love, you give what you have, which helps explain the green eggs and ham not as some twisted culinary objects but as tokens in an affair of courtship. (This philosophy also explains why my cousin gave his first wife hubcaps for Christmas.)
As a child (or for those of you who attended private school, youth), Green Eggs and Ham was a revelation because for the first time I learned about life and love and the struggles that accompany each. When Sam carried his ham and eggs over land and sea in the pursuit of his goal I saw that there were often great lengths that one may have to go through in pursuit of a dream. Most importantly, I learned that love is not about roses and candy and cards, it’s often about the crazy things we create and the emotional things that we do to win the hearts, minds and stomachs of our desires. Would you, could you indeed.