- September 17, 2020
One day last week, my 4-year-old son, Luke, was on the couch, his feet barely hanging over the edge of the cushion. He opened Amazon Prime, raised the TV remote to his lips, held down the voice-search button, and said, “Mr. Grinch.” (Actually, he pronounced it “Gwinch,” since he has some lingering trouble with R’s.)
The smart TV couldn’t understand this adorable little-boy version of Cindy Lou Who, so I stepped in to translate.
“Let’s spell it out,” I told him. “First, a G. Then, an R.”
He navigated to each letter and hit search. But when he tried to press play on “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” the screen said that the Dr. Seuss cartoon, at least the 1966 version, was not available.
“It’s got to be somewhere,” I said. I took the remote and tried Disney+, HBOMax and Netflix. With each search, my own indignation grew three sizes bigger. Why am I paying for all these services, and I can’t even find the Grinch at Christmas time?
Finally, I found it scheduled on “regular TV,” i.e., Hulu Live, the most expensive one of all (and the one I was about to cancel), and I set it to record later that evening, gritting my teeth, muttering to myself about the good old days before streaming.
Joined by my 8-year-old daughter, Kennedy, we settled in to meet the Grinch outside of his snowy cave at the top of Mount Crumpet. Luke seemed to take an alarming pleasure in his mischievous smile: “I think he’s kind of cool because he’s scary,” Luke said. “I love that his head can turn all the way around!”
We watched the Grinch strap an antler on Max the dog and then steal all the Whos’ roast beast and Who Hash, along with their snoof and their fuzzles, their tringlers and trappings.
I watched Luke and was a little worried that he wasn’t feeling too sorry for the Whos, even after seeing Cindy Lou Who appear in her pink nightgown-sack, who those impossibly blue eyes.
Back on the top of Mount Crumpet, the anti-Santa Grinch peers down on Whoville below, hoping he has succeeded in stealing Christmas--and silencing their joyful noises.
Instead of silence or sadness, he hears the Whos singing: “Christmas Day is in our grasp / So long as we have hands to clasp.”
Then the miracle occurs: The Grinch’s heart grows three sizes larger. I asked Luke what had happened, and he said he doesn’t like the Whos.
“Why not?” I asked.
“Because they sing, and I don’t like that song,” Luke said.
I cringed. Luke wasn’t an adorable little Who after all--he was a Grinch just like me!
Then Kennedy saved the day. She said she knew why the Whos were singing, even though their presents had been stolen.
“Because that’s not the true meaning of Christmas,” Kennedy said. “They still basically have everything.”
Kennedy gets it. She’s a Who, while Luke and I are little green men. Next time, I’ll count my streaming services as blessings and not complain. But if there’s hope for the Grinch, I think there’s hope for a change of heart for Luke and me, too, maybe even before Christmas.
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