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The Marines Will Like My Shooting. And They Are Going to Like Me.
December 23, 2007 6:22 PM   Subscribe

Do You Know What I'm Going To Do Next Saturday? is a Flickr set of the pages from Helen Palmer Geisel's (Dr. Seuss's first wife) now out of print children's book that gained notoreity for its depiction of children doing fun & very dangerous things like joining the marines, playing with guns & fighting American Gladiator style.
posted by jonson (34 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
Seeing prominent guns in a kids book is weird, but isn't all that disturbing given the time and fact that he's obviously boasting. What's more disturbing is the constant pro-eating propaganda. You know what I'm going to do next Saturday? Eat until my stomach lining ruptures! Then the United States Marines will give me the love I'm not getting at home.
posted by DU at 6:39 PM on December 23, 2007


Next Saturday I'll blow my head off. No one is going to stop me next Saturday.

shudder...
posted by not_on_display at 6:39 PM on December 23, 2007


This doesn't disturb me at all, because I know the guy that little kid grew up to be. Well not literally, of course, just in spirit. I lived with him for six months. He'd cook up huge messes of ground beef, white rice and brown gravy, get spliffed, and make me watch the Woo Woo video on YouTube with him over and over again. I'd come home and he'd be in the shower rapping at the top of his lungs. Somehow all of this was always oddly endearing. Sometimes a person is just larger than life and you gotta stand back and marvel.
posted by hermitosis at 6:45 PM on December 23, 2007 [4 favorites]


This kid just wants to beat five kids at once, and then their dads. Lay off 'em.
posted by piratebowling at 7:23 PM on December 23, 2007


life before ritalin...
posted by geos at 7:36 PM on December 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


Good luck, kid. I'll be sleeping in.
posted by Frank Grimes at 7:44 PM on December 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


I guess I'm old. I knew guys in junior high and high school who would bring their rifles to school. One guy on the bus. No one ever got shot. They would go out hunting after school.
They would walk through through the school hallways with the guns, and keep them in their lockers until after school. No one ever batted an eye.

And no one felt threatened.

But then again, when I went to school, we could be paddled by school administration.
posted by Balisong at 7:48 PM on December 23, 2007 [5 favorites]


Had this as a kid -- I hadn't thought of it in decades. One of my faves at the time.
posted by Clave at 7:49 PM on December 23, 2007


You make it sound like a bad thing. When I was a kid you know what I did? I played with guns, I played cowboys and Indians, I had a fist fight with the kid next door, I rode my bicycle like I was Evel. I argued about close calls at home plate. I wanted to be a policeman, I played with GI Joe. I grew up to be a well adjusted adult who can deal with life's daily troubles without resorting to a fist, a knife or a gun. At the risk of sounding like an old geezer I think we should let kids learn life's lessons when they are kids, while they play, and not end up unable to deal with living.

Now get offa my lawn.
posted by Gungho at 7:53 PM on December 23, 2007 [7 favorites]


This is way off topic, but you mentioned American Gladiators so I wanted to share this clip from the show I just found, featuring "Malibu".
posted by puke & cry at 8:01 PM on December 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


The kid looks really bad ass holding shooting the gun.
posted by philcliff at 8:11 PM on December 23, 2007


life before ritalin...

geos, such a good point. That reminds me of a line in Charles Bukowski's poem, Something For The Touts, The Nuns, The Grocery Clerks, And You . .

days when children say funny and brilliant things
like savages trying to send you a message through
their bodies while their bodies are still
alive enough to transmit and feel and run up
and down without locks and paychecks and
ideals and possessions and beetle-like
opinions


This Do You Know What I'm Going To Do Next Saturday? seems like such a classic mid century little boy book. All little Western and Tibetan boys I've ever known wanted to shoot or be warriors, talked about killing bad guys bare fisted or with any number of weapons, machine guns, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle nun chucks, Luke Skywalker light sabers or deadly karate chops. Only Indian boys I've known didn't talk routinely about killing people. Don't know why. Vegetarian diet?

Dr. Seuss' books are non-violent I think. Interesting this was done by his first wife.

This book seems to embody typical little boy fantasies and I wonder why there was such an uproar when all round were GI Joe dolls etc. I think little boys -all kids- also have lots of mega-eating fantasies. Is it so harmful to bluntly write a book about childhood fantasies? It's not wrapped up in fancy Hogwarts razzmatazz or super hero anything, just the raw, simple and to me plainly spoken fantasies. I find that refreshing and honest. There could be or have been a whole slew of fantasy books for different types of boys and girls, not just this one gung-ho style.

Although the kids these days, gee, the more I think about a fantasies book for Western kids now, the darker and more disturbing it would likely be...*shudder

It reminds me of a book given to my older brother, How To Do Nothing With Nobody All By Yourself, by Robert Paul Smith, beautifully illustrated by his wife, Elinor Goulding Smith. On the cover is a little boy playing with *gasp, a jack knife, the way most little boys in America used to and play mumbly-peg.

Another wonderful book by the same author, Where did you go? Out. What did you do? Nothing.
posted by nickyskye at 8:34 PM on December 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


I have this book! And my kid likes it! Although, the first time we read it together (and it was the first time I'd read it in 30 years) I certainly was fascinated by the gun pages as well.

I'm still holding out for the sequel, where on Sunday, he smokes cigars and pees on homeless people.
posted by fungible at 8:37 PM on December 23, 2007


He'll put his eye out!
posted by danb at 8:57 PM on December 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


The little boy in the book is named Rawli Davis: "The hyperactive kid in this book is my husband and the father of our two children. He keeps busy playing softball, golf and surfing."

Comprehensive Biography of Theodor Seuss Geisel. Apparently his first wife, Helen, the author of Do You Know What I'm Going To Do Next Saturday? had a huge impact on Dr. Seuss' life, urged him to be an artist, to use a percussive rhythm in his first book and she committed suicide as she was in frail health in 1967.
posted by nickyskye at 9:05 PM on December 23, 2007


I think that kid has the right idea.

Next Saturday, I'm going to do something nobody els has done.
I'm going to see something nobody else has seen.

Right after I pay the bills.

*sigh*
posted by lekvar at 10:08 PM on December 23, 2007


God I remember this book. I'd love to make a 21st century version of it.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 10:14 PM on December 23, 2007


I'd love to make a 21st century version of it.

On Saturday I'm going to watch all of YouTube. All of it! Then I'm going to level up in WoW if I want to. And I want to.

I love this whole book, especially the double-fisted bowling shot, which was a childhood dream of mine. Thanks for the post!
posted by phooky at 10:37 PM on December 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


God I remember this book. I'd love to make a 21st century version of it.

Do you know what I'm going to do next Saturday?
I'm going to leave some YouTube comments no one ever saw before.
Yes, sir. The whole internet will say, "Say! You're right, kid!"
when I comment that Chris Crocker is gay next Saturday.
posted by katillathehun at 10:42 PM on December 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


and after that - boy, oh boy! - I'll shake my fist at phooky for beating me to it next Saturday.
posted by katillathehun at 10:43 PM on December 23, 2007


Interesting Snopes article about the book (the untrue urban legend is that the book was banned).

I didn't know about this book, but another book she wrote with the same kid in the pictures is Why I Built the Boogle House, which was a favorite of mine.
posted by eye of newt at 11:06 PM on December 23, 2007


I think that the book is seen as ridiculous now is as much a sad commentary on modern childhood (cf. katillla and phooky's YouTube comments) as it is on the activities described there. I can't really find anything wrong with it -- besides perhaps the over-eating, and even that seems pretty harmless within the context of an obvious kids' fantasy.

So many pastimes of my childhood would today be treated with scorn (or horror, or lawsuits) that I'm really not sure what I'd do if I were a kid today. I suspect it would involve a lot of videogames and self-loathing.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:45 AM on December 24, 2007


Ok, sometimes the world and Mefi is too strange. This is probably more weird for me than anyone else, but just two days ago I was walking by my 6 year old sons bookcase and noticed this book (which I had as a kid).

I thought to myself, "I should scan this book and put it up on Flickr, I bet noones done this yet".
But the truth is, everything that you think of has been done on the internet. And if it hasn't, then it will be in two days . . .
posted by jeremias at 5:04 AM on December 24, 2007


Another wonderful book by the same author, Where did you go? Out. What did you do? Nothing.

That was one of my favorite books when I was a kid. I wish I had a copy now.
posted by languagehat at 6:23 AM on December 24, 2007


Pugil sticks are definitely a lot of fun. I wish they had these at the local Y.
posted by pax digita at 7:08 AM on December 24, 2007


That was one of my favorite books when I was a kid. I wish I had a copy now.

Dear languagehat, it's easy peasy japanesey to pick up a copy of that book on wonderful AbeBooks for a dollar approx + shipping, under 5 bucks total.
posted by nickyskye at 8:10 AM on December 24, 2007


This book is just great. I sometimes get the feeling that kids today just don't have the capacity for this kind of fantasy life. When I tell the kids in skating class "5 minutes free time" half or more of them look at me completely blankly. They have absolutely no concept of creating activity on their own.
posted by nax at 8:28 AM on December 24, 2007


Little guns! Big Guns!
I'll shoot every gun
that they shoot.


Sounds like what I did as a kid.

Teenager too.

And last month.

And I turned out just fine!

*hides posting history*
posted by quin at 8:58 AM on December 24, 2007


Dude, this sounds like the best day ever! Run around like a maniac, eat a fuckton of food, fuck with some Marines, I'm excited!

I'm going to do just this; tomorrow on Christmas, I'm gonna eat a huge breakfast, go to my folks house and run around with my neices and nephews, and after dinner, I'm gonna go upstairs and fight my dad!

This is gonna be fucking magnificent!
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:14 AM on December 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


pax digita: A cautionary vignette about pugil sticks from my basic training. I, uh, won't say which one is me...
posted by Hal Mumkin at 1:12 PM on December 24, 2007


Little guns! Big Guns!
I'll shoot every gun
that they HEY LETS GO RIDE BIKES.
posted by loquacious at 4:07 PM on December 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


I finally got around to reading the whole thing, and appreciated it more. Except I don't remember ever wanting to eat so much. I mean, holy shit! Ten miles of spaghetti?!
posted by not_on_display at 11:06 PM on December 24, 2007


Do children these days get to have jackknives?
posted by five fresh fish at 11:21 PM on December 24, 2007


Although come to think of it, one can learn equally important lessons about knife safety in the kitchen...
posted by five fresh fish at 11:22 PM on December 24, 2007


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