A few weeks ago, I posted a very important reader participation project for the ever-so-loyal readers of ToughPigs.com. It was a book about togetherness, about helping your fellow man, about finding that missing piece to complete your life’s goals.
Now, what do I have that needs a helper? I have an article that won’t fill itself with silly things to say, and snarky observations about a 37-year-old book. Who has something good for a ToughPigs article?
But what’s this? All of my ToughPig friends are racing toward me with seemingly random things in their hands! Why, there’s Beth with a Northern Exposure DVD! And there’s Tony with seventeen rolls of scotch tape! And Ryan R. with a bowling trophy! And Michal with a beard of bees! And Peter with a case of the blues! And Jog with an autographed 8×10 of Joe Rogan! And Erik with his identical twin brother! And Amy with a tap dancing penguin! And Anthony with the key to the men’s room! And Grant with the Internet! And Ryan M. with insomnia!
Special thanks to all of the above folks for making this happen. And feel free to read The Together Book by clicking here. Enjoy the funny!
Jog: “What do I have that needs a helper?” Sounds like the Sesame Street Book of Slavery.
Jog: What does the illustrator have that needs a helper? Reference material as to how many fluffy rings Big Bird has around his legs. Four? Five? Or, four on one leg, five on the other leg?
Ryan R: I love the art. I always like the more expressive takes on the characters. They didn’t even bother to color within the lines, which sends kids the subtle message that one needn’t always conforms to society standards in order to be helpful.
Ryan R: Betty Lou ordered a milkshake bigger than herself. I think she knew the whole time that she was going to need help finishing it, and she was just waiting for Pantsless Farley Guy to join her. She’s just lucky he was the one carrying his straw collection… if it had been Herry, she would have ended up with fur in her milkshake.
Michal: No wonder she looks so terrified that her hair is about to fall off. She’s facing a big enough milkshake to drown in, some Farley impersonator who forgot his pants is fast approaching, and her feet can’t even reach the floor for a quick escape.
Anthony: Bert does not look at all pleased about having to help Sherlock Hemlock trudge that soapbox car through the snow.
Ryan R: Herry doesn’t look very happy to be joining him/her on that sled. Something tells me Herry never really wanted to help, but he knew that if he didn’t, he wouldn’t be in the book.
Michal: Apparently, the Sesame gang all wear their regular outfits, rather than any gesture towards winter gear – or in a couple of cases, any clothing whatsoever – while trudging through the snow with their sacrificial offerings to the Baby Monster.ERNIE:
Jog: Most of these guys seem to be content with whichever one object leads to the solution to their problem, right? But look at Ernie with Cookie in the sandbox – that’s right, he took EVERYBODY’s stuff.
Ryan R: The next scene, which we don’t get to see, is Ernie asking “What do I have that needs a helper? I need to get my stomach pumped!” And then the other characters run in carrying llamas, underwear, the corpse of Richard Nixon, etc.
Jog: Are we seeing a selfish side of Ernie, or did he simply say, “Guys, come on. Get real. It’s a SAND CAKE. I can make a new one. No conflict here.” And then everyone would be mad at Ernie, calling for help and letting them carry all those things for nothing, and Ernie would have said: “Hey, but, ya know? You can still leave all your things here. We’ll find stuff to do with it.”
Ryan M: The expression on Bert’s face when he’s holding the wrench leads me to believe he plans to whack Ernie in the back of the head with it, perhaps as revenge for all the silly pranks Ernie has played on him over the years. NOW who’s eating the sandbox?
Beth: No one seems to notice the problems involved in asking Cookie to help out with a falling cake either. Ernie is too ecstatic over the invention of a portable flat surface called a plate to notice the cake’s sudden disappearance.
Ryan R: Before everyone brought their stuff, all Ernie had was a cake made out of sand. Now that Cookie Monster has offered his “help,” it’s only a matter of time before all the sand cake is gone. So I can’t blame Ernie for wanting to keep the other stuff… at least until Cookie Monster eats it too.
Ryan M: Ernie is obviously to blame. Remember that Life cereal commercial where the two boys give their brother Mikey who won’t eat anything a bowl of cereal and are surprised that he eats it? This is sort of the same thing- Ernie is obviously testing Cookie Monster. So Ernie decides to make a cake out of sand and then announce that the cake is going to fall over. Cookie Monster, glutton that he is, brings a plate in order to keep the cake from falling, and then proceeds to eat it. The expressions on both Ernie and Cookie Monster’s face show that Cookie Monster is as satisfied as he would be eating a real cake, and that Ernie is obviously pleased that the con has worked. Continuing in the footsteps of Mikey, Ernie’s next trick will no doubt be sharing with Cookie Monster a delicious snack of Pop Rocks and Coke.
Tony: Why do all the male AMs have no pants?
Jog: What do Roosevelt Franklin and his friend have that needs a helper? Answer: blisters, since they’ve strapped their rollerskates around their bare feet… Or someone to stop Ernie from beating the green guy senseless with his sledgehammer.
Beth: No one thinks to help the rollerblade kid with a band-aid, an asprin, or the doctor in the neighborhood. Instead, the old geezer brings a tuba to “help” with his headache. Or to entertain everyone by blowing Little Bird out of it, a la Robin on the Julie Andrews episode of the Muppet Show.
Michal: I just noticed that Little Bird carries a copy of “American Gothic” to help Pantsless Farley Impersonator with his skates. Way to sneak in art appreciation, Sesame Street!
Grant: I like the two-page spread depicting Sesame Street itself, complete with a rare early glimpse around the corner. But if that’s supposed to be the stoop of 123, then Big Bird’s going to be mad when he finds out that they’ve replaced his nest with a fruit store, 29-cent oranges or no 29-cent oranges.
Jog: Check out Grover. He’s sweating on practically every page.
Beth: I think Grover must be “helped” by creative usage of controlled substances. It’s the only way to explain those eyes.
Michal: Grover’s lucky to be a synthetic monster with no need for thermoregulation. Can you imagine him sweating through every waiter and bellhop outfit, running backstage to change twice per sketch?
Peter: This book is clearly a forgery, as it seems to be the first and only time Grover has ever tried to help someone and actually succeeded.
Ryan R: Maybe this was the first time Grover had ever tried to be helpful. Then, finding success, he got addicted and determined to be as helpful as possible for the rest of his life, only to fail hilariously. That explains why he keeps popping up with different jobs (waiter, taxi driver, professor)… he’s desperate to recapture that one moment where he was actually useful.
Michal: So does anyone have any thoughts on the choice to put the resolutions in all caps?
Jog: They have to shout so that the senile old man can hear it too.
Ryan R: As many internet users can attest, saying something in all caps means it’s indisputably true.
Jog: If this book were reissued these days, it’d probably read “ZOMFG! THEY FIT JUST RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11111111 ^_^ ROFL”
Amy: They ran out of lowercase type?
Jog: My favorite character is the senile white bearded man who runs in with the most useless crap, like a tuba.
Beth: Also, check out the old geezer on a snowy hill carrying a lawnmower on his head. No wonder there are no adults on Sesame Street. Clearly they all contracted Alzheimer’s and were put in a home for their own safety.
Ryan R: Evidently it’s the kind of lawnmower you wear as a hat.
Michal: Is this the same old man bringing the lawnmower and the tuba? Do you think he rode his lawnmower from his farm all the way to Sesame Street?
Ryan M: The [old man] looks somewhat like Professor Hastings with a green nose- if the lawnmower was running, perhaps this explains the character’s mysterious disappearance by the early 1970s- narcolepsy plus running lawnmowers…not a pretty picture.
Beth: I think you can sing the last pages: “Every day I need a helper. Every day you need one too… You help me, and I’ll help you” to the tune of “Monster in the Mirror.”
Click here to discuss the nature of togetherness on the ToughPigs forum!