Have you ever had one of those days where everything seems to go your way? Well, I hope you cherished it, because it will probably never happen again.
- Book: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
- Author: Judith Viorst; Illustrator: Ray Cruz
- Year: 1972
- Plot: A redhead named Alexander has (what he believes to be) a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day
Poor Alexander. He knew he was going to have a bad day by the way it started. He wakes up with gum in his hair, he trips on his skateboard and he drops his sweater in the sink.
All of which could have been avoided if he didn’t fall asleep chewing gum, if he didn’t leave his skateboard right next to his bead, and if he didn’t bring his sweater into the bathroom. Who in their right mind does that?
At breakfast, Alexander’s brothers, Anthony and Nick, find toys in their cereal boxes. All Alexander found was cereal.
Alex should consider himself lucky. His brother Anthony found a toy car in his cereal box, and given that this book takes place in the 1970s, the car was probably covered in ’70s things like lead paint and LSD.
Alex got exactly what was advertised. They’re called cereal boxes for a reason — they have cereal in them. Last time I checked, they weren’t called cereal and toy boxes.
And that’s when Alex makes a very important decision: he’s moving to Australia.
This seems pretty drastic to me. Australia’s on the other side of the world, and it has kangaroos and spiders and snakes. It would take more than cereal to convince me to move there (no offense to my readers down under).
His day only gets worse from here.
On the ride to school, Alex has to sit in the middle. At school, he gets no love for the picture he drew of an invisible castle, and his best friend Paul says he’s not his best friend anymore, only third best.
Let’s address the Invisible Castle Fiasco (new band name, I call it). If I tried turning in an invisible research paper on how the government is controlling the weather with a machine which is why California’s been a drought for the past couple years, my professor would not accept it for two reasons. One, it’s invisible, meaning it can’t be read, and the reason it’s invisible is because it hasn’t been written. Second, that theory is completely insane and my professor would probably tell me to seek counseling.
More bad things happen to Alex.
- Alex learns that his mom forgot to pack dessert: Did she forget, or did she do it because she doesn’t want her son to get fat? Alex should be thankful that his mom’s watching out for his wellbeing.
- At the dentist’s office, the dentist finds a cavity in Alex, while his brothers are clean: Going to the dentist is not that bad.
- His foot gets smashed in the elevator door: I’m sorry that Alex is terrible at riding elevators. On second thought, no, I’m not. Here’s a tip: stay away from the doors when they’re moving. If he can’t handle elevators, then he should really avoid escalators. He’d probably break a few bones trying to figure those things out.
Night falls, and the travesties keep piling up.
- There’s kissing on TV, and he hates kissing: Then he should stop watching if it bothers him so much. I didn’t like Twilight, so what did I do? I kept reading it…
- His bath’s too hot: It will cool down once your body gets used to the temperature.
- He gets soap in his eyes: Why is he putting soap in his eyes?
- His marble goes down the drain: What is he doing, playing with a marble while he’s taking a bath?
- He has to wear his railroad pajamas: Is he serious? His railroad pajamas? Quick! Someone call somebody somewhere and get this resolved! If Alex hated his railroad pajamas so much, he would have slept naked.
- His nightlight burns out: Good. He’ll learn not to be a baby.
- The cat doesn’t want to sleep with him: Also good. His chances of being mysteriously murdered in the middle of the night have decreased 63 percent.
In the end, Alex learns that bad days happen everywhere, Australia included.
I’d like to see a sequel to this book written from grown-up Alex’s perspective. It has the potential to be one of the darkest books ever written, or one of the funniest, depending on what kinds of problems Old Alex has.
Moral of the story: Bad days happen to people named Alexander, as well as people with any other name. Also, life is full of disappointments, but only if you go into it with high expectations.
So if your day’s going like this,
and you feel like this,
and you want to do this,
just take a deep breath,
and talk to friend (or yourself),
and remember this:
Bad days are just a part of life. Don’t walk around always expecting good things to happen, because they probably won’t. Instead, accept the fact that most days are going to be bad. Then, when something good happens, such as finding a quarter on the sidewalk or buying rice on sale at the grocery store, you’ll be better able to cherish those great moments.