The Stranger In the Hat

If someone you don’t know walks into your house uninvited and asks you if you want to play a game, what do you do?

The Cat in the Hat opens with these two kids, Sally and Boy Who Has No Name. They’re home alone. It’s raining. So what do they do? Sit by the window and watch the rain, of course. A sudden noise breaks them from their boredom. They look, and wouldn’t you know it, there’s a cat standing in the entrance.

He didn’t knock. He just walks right in without a key or battering ram or anything. He says he’ll show them some games and tricks, adding that their mother “will not mind at all.”

Most states have a castle law, which allows the residents of a home to defend themselves against an intruder using deadly force if need be. Don’t take my word for it, though. If you’re standing on trial and you tell the judge that your actions were justified because you read about the castle law on a 24-year-old guy’s blog post on Dr. Seuss, you’ll either put your sanity in question or you’ll get laughed at, and that’s embarrassing.

Thankfully, the fish recognizes the danger of the situation. He tells the kids that the Cat in the Hat should not be here, especially when their mom isn’t home. Unfortunately, the fish is a fish, meaning he’s about as useless as vegan bacon.

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The Cat tells them not to worry, that his tricks aren’t bad, that together they can have some “good fun.” He picks up the fish bowl and balances it on the handle of his umbrella. The fish tells The Cat to put him down, so naturally, The Cat balances on a ball while balancing a cup of tea on his hat. One thing leads to another, and before you know it, The Cat has about 50 million things balancing on various parts of his body, all while he’s hopping on the ball.

You know what they say — what goes up must come down, and pride comes before a fall.

The Cat falls and creates a huge mess. The fish is launched out of his bowl, but fortunately he lands in a teapot. He’s all like, I told you so, now get out of this house, you stupid cat! (He didn’t actually use the word “stupid” because it’s not very nice and because it has too many letters).

Do you think The Cat listens? No, he does not, because that’s just how he operates. He grabs a big wooden box from outside and brings it in. This is a new game called “FUN-IN-A-BOX.” Inside the box are Thing 1 and Thing 2, little blue-haired creatures who are basically the 1950s version of minions, except there are only two of them instead of three trillion.

And what do these Things want? They just want to have fun. Again, the fish speaks out and tells the kids to kick the Things out of the house.

The Cat tells the fish not to worry, because “These Things are good Things,” and they’re here to play.

The first thing they do is fly kites. Inside the house. How that is even possible is beyond me, because whenever I see people fly kites, they’re doing so outdoors. This is because to fly a kite, you need two things: the wind and the sun. You can’t get either one when you’re inside. But that doesn’t stop the Things, who are seemingly above the laws of nature and kite-flying.

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Meanwhile, Peppa Pig can’t even get a kite to fly outdoors.

They run around the house, causing havoc, bumping into pictures, getting objects caught on the kite strings. 

Suddenly, the fish cries out again, this time to let everyone know that the mom is on her way home. The kids look out the window, and we see her shoe, so we know that she’s pretty close.

They’re in quite a predicament here. The house is basically in ruins, their mom is almost home and there’s a talking cat and two Things running around the home. The boy grabs his net, which by the looks of it appears to have a handle that is 20 feet long, and he traps the Things. He tells The Cat to pack up his Things and leave.

The Cat is dejected, as if he thought that the kids would enjoy it if someone ran through their house knocking everything down. He packs up his Things and leaves. But there’s still a problem: the house is a mess. There’s no way they can clean it up in time. Unless…

The Cat in the Hat comes back, driving a weird three-wheeled contraption with a bunch of robotic hands that clean up the entire mess in the blink of an eye. He then leaves through the front door with a tip of his hat.

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And just like that, as mysteriously as he arrived, he was gone.

Then the mom walks in through the front door and asks her kids if they had any fun. They don’t know what to say. “Um, a giant talking cat came in and brought two little friends and created a huge mess and cleaned it all up?”

I just want to know how the mom did not notice a large cat driving out of her front door.

So what is this story about, exactly? Well, just like Green Eggs and Ham, there’s more to it than meets the eye. The boy and girl represent every man, woman, child and hippo, while The Cat is the friend who tells them that doing drugs is fun. The Things are drugs. They ruin the house, which represents the body.

The Cat is the one who cleans up the mess, yes, but only after the Things (drugs) are taken out of the picture. He realizes that maybe his Things aren’t so fun after all, and he has a change of heart and helps the kids put their lives back together.

All of this is the truth. I think.

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