Cindy-Lou Who?

Telluride Daily Planet, Sunday, December 23, 2012

Michelle Curry Wright: Are you kidding, I’m thrilled you called me! But, I mean, wow. Cindy Lou Who.  Just. So. Surprised.

Cindy Lou Who: I’ve never given an interview — not in years and years; and back then it was, you know, the local Whoville press wondering how I liked being a star. Fifty five years later, I’m done. Done with being two.  You’re in your fifties — I figured you might understand.

MCW: Yes. Yes, of course.

CLW: And also – with the house burning down to the ground and all… [sighs]  I thought, why not just come clean and start fresh.

MCW: The house that was–

CLW: Yes, the house in the book. Our house. The first one the Grinch visits.  On page 49 of the Whoville Historic Registry.

MCW: You lived there all these years?

CLW: Yes. But it’s not uncommon for entire Who families simply to add on to their parents and grandparents homes. I never did marry, though.  And with mom and dad both gone and now the fire… well, everything is crazy again. [pauses] Only this time I’m not drinking.

MCW:  Whos drink?

CLW: Um, yeah? You thought we didn’t have bad habits? Dr. Seuss created our Who-topia, but he didn’t deny us free will.  No good writer does that. I’ve been sober eleven years two months and three days.  Very proud of that. And grateful to my sponsor.

MCW: I feel like I should just let you talk instead of interviewing. What do I know, anyway?

CLW: [pauses] I like the questions, actually, and hearing your voice.  I do want people to consider how much their collective belief over the years has affected me, though, and you probably weren’t about to ask that question. I mean yes, I am two in the book and in the TV show, and two every time it’s read or watched. But things unfold. Lives happen. We don’t hold hands and sing in a big circle anymore, for instance.

MCW: [stupefied by this] You mean, no “Fah who foraze, Dah who dor-“

CLW: [plugs her ears] Stop it! We haven’t done that since Grinch died.

MCW: The Grinch… died?

CLW: In ‘97. Got an official Whoville burial on account of his being mayor for three terms, then running the Pudding Kitchen as if he were on a mission from god.

MCW: The Pudding Kitchen?

CLW: The Who-Pudding Kitchen for the Poor, Tired and Huddled.  Who pudding seems to bring everyone back to their senses —  at least temporarily. Rich, [reminiscing], comforting, nutritious. Buttery vanilla, but not too sweet.

MCW:  Mmmm.

CLW: We’ve even learned to make it with coconut milk now.

MCW: But. I mean, Whos still do the whole Christmas thing, right? Nobody can stop it from coming, like it says in the book.

CLW: Oh it comes, the little ones make sure of that. Grinch would always see to it the Whoville lights were better than the year before. [pauses to reflect] You know, the color completely drained from him when he passed. His fur turned pure white all at once. Like Christmas snow. [sharply taking a breath in]

MCW: You were close, obviously.

CLW: Uh, more than close. Another part of the story no one out there knows. Even here, it was like, “How can you love a Grinch?” and “He’s not one of us, Cin.” But he was more one of us than we were. [openly crying] You know? I mean I’m sure for him I represented his heart opening and all the goodness he made himself available to receive after our seminal first meeting. For me, he was just… all the sweeter for having been gruff. Plus he actually wooed me.  Or Whoed me, as we say here.

MCW:  [swallows, says sadly] Wow. I mean, who knew?

CLW: This Who knew. [giggles once] Anywho, I feel lighter. Thank you.

MCW: I didn’t do much except listen.

CLW: Which I needed … You know in Whoville in the spring, the electric blue and yellow flowers we call Turleegluts bloom all at once and last a single day. We celebrate new life and practice gratitude for all the things we have. I don’t know why this comes to mind now. But it’s as if they all wake up together, and then decide that one perfect moment is worth a lifetime. It’s a beautiful thing. A beautiful thing. [laughs like pealing bells, then sighs] Anyway. Merry Christmas to you. Thanks for picking up the phone – from a blocked number.

MCW: Merry Christmas to you, Cindy Lou Who. One never knows who might be calling.

CLW: Nope. One never does.

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