It is a rare occurrence that I find a book that makes me guffaw audibly uncontrollably. It is an even rarer occurrence that I spend twenty four hours or so on a single episode unable to continue due to the fact that the mere thought of that one hilarious scene leaves me subsequently crying hysterically and wetting my pants with golden joy. Perhaps, I was just in a goofy mood last week when I read the books, but even if I take that into account, I must say that the reading material that consumed my life last week was comprised of one of the most comical books I have ever had the extreme good fortune and delight to read.
The book that consumed my life (and my pants) was Theo Lesieg’s Wacky Wednesday. This masterpiece certainly afforded me the opportunity to do lots of guffawing and loads of wet, gleeful pee-filled laundry.
In Lesieg’s Wacky Wednesday, the main character views a shoe on the wall that shouldn’t be there at all. Lesieg’s side-splitting antics hasten to compile more wacky things on every colorful, fun-filled page. For instance, on pages 9-10, the main character is in the bathroom taking a shower with one sock on, his bare rear end exposed to all readers, and a tree growing out of the toilet. How did the tree get there? Did he plant it himself? Only Lesieg’s brilliant mind holds the key!
At first, the main characters feels that the wacky things he encounters are all part of a nefarious scheme against him devised by some higher power. The plot continues to advance as the main character arrives late to school, encountering the Sutherland sisters on his way who look “wacky, too.” In his efforts to right the “wacky,” he calls out to the Sutherland sisters, who, in turn, only lambaste and chastise him, proclaiming “Nothing is wacky around here but you!”
Knowing the title of this story, it should be obvious what Lesieg is really up to. During my fifth reading of the book, I began to have a strong suspicion that our main character is hopped up on “wacky” tobacci, which is the street name for marijuana (I’ve also heard that it is known as “pot” as well).
Yet it is insufficient to merely label this story as “drug” humor. As I discovered the euphemism, it became apparent to me that this children’s classic is not only classic because of its apparent drug humor, but it is also a classic allegory for drug use and redemption, which made me cry, not pristine tears of joy, but empathetic tears of sadness as our dear main character discovers, in a hallucinatory state, that his teacher is on roller skates, one of his classmates is headless, another is standing atop yet another, and one has a beard similar to Rex Myers’ beard even though he is quite young. Perhaps this is what drug users call “freaking out.”
To the main character’s chagrin, his trusted teacher screams at him, “Nothing is wacky here in my class! Get out! You’re the wacky one! Out!” So, as it becomes apparent to our beloved pothead, he must leave school to redeem himself and purge himself of his problem. He is, in fact, utterly oblivious to the social convention against using illegal substances in school, blissfully ensconced in his own world of blunts and drug-induced delirium.
The sad fact is, our pothead is utterly miserable, but he’s too busy counting the “wacky” things to realize it. He’s trying so hard to count the overwhelming illusions and delusions, that he hardly notices that they are an artifice of his own wacked-out mind. That is, of course, until he runs so hard that he knocks over Patrolman McGann.
Patrolman McGann seems to be lost in his own world of being high. He has a shoe on his hand and doesn’t bother to arrest our poor main character. Instead, he advises him that Wacky Wednesday will soon go away, which means that our pothead will soon come down from his high.
The hilarity returns to our main character’s situation as he must count twenty more wacky things before he can return to a normal state of mind. I laughed the hardest at the tree on a unicycle because it reminded me of the time I was almost run over by that girl on her unicycle that rides around campus. And then there was the fish trying to catch the man, which was a masterful allusion to Melville’s Moby Dick.
After our beloved pothead protagonist counts all twenty remaining things, he is able to rest peacefully and “even get rid of that shoe on the wall,” which is, obviously, a metaphor for kicking his intense drug habit. At this point in my reading, I was touched by the poignant portrayal of deliverance and liberation from the world of “pot” so much in fact that I cried myself to sleep with tears of hope and renewal.
The brilliance of this book is obvious. Few authors would be able to create a character with the ability to ignore an apparent drug user, or convince those same people to march around the room oblivious to the main character’s delusions, and I won’t even get into the mayhem he causes when he makes himself an “umbrella” soup.
Suffice it to say that Wacky Wednesday is highly entertaining reading.
Lesieg once described his work as “nonsense stories,” but this is simply false true. This book is about an unhappy person who finds release in drugs, but who eventually is liberated from his awful habit through the wise-cracking antics of Patrolman McGann and through the simple practice of counting.
Finally, Lesieg shows his readers that it is possible to kick a fatal, albeit hilarious, drug habit through patience and counting. His message is almost reminiscent of Afro-man who cautioned people to stay away from a life of drugs when he sang, “Now I’m a paraplegic and I know why–because I got high, because I got high, because I got high.