The other day, per the request of an old high school friend, I meandered over to my former elementary school stomping grounds in order to provide my voice. I speak for a living these days, and I felt it was the least I could do to offer my voice for a reading of Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham to little kids.

I must be honest: I didn’t expect too much out of the experience. Maybe a few smiles. A giggle or three perhaps. A pleasant morning. But what transpired I will never forget, as it helped shatter an unhealthy case of cynicism I had developed over the past year or so from living too long in and amongst a world of political blather, profane humor, and a revolving cast of intoxicated, self-centered 20 somethings.

The reading of Green Eggs and Ham went great. I would occasionally sprinkle in my own commentary. Sam-I-am is one persistent purveyor of flavor I must say. He’s very accommodating with all his offers of boxes and foxes and trains and rain. What a gracious host! And who is this curmudgeon that won’t eat Sam-I-am’s delicious culinary creation!

The kids, who where about 3 to 4 years old and about 30 in number, laughed and shouted as the story’s drama transpired. Some may say, Joey, you can’t talk to kids like you talk to adults. But here’s the thing, I can because it just so happens that I talk to adults like they’re children.

When it was all over, I would have been happy with their attention and my silly performance. But then it happened. After the finishing the book, the teachers prodded the kids to applaud and they obliged. As the applause died down, a little boy stood up from his seat on the floor and ran toward the front of the room directly at me. He was too quick for his teachers to catch him, and before I knew it, he was hugging my left shoulder. This set off a chain reaction as a flood of itsy bitsy hugs swept over me. I could feel the cynicism leave me immediately. Such innocence and cynicism can’t mix. I mean why give hugs so willy-nilly? No reason other than to do it, and that’s the beauty of it.

Leave it to youthful imagination and whimsy to remind this sad sap of how wonderful this world can be. It only requires a little bit of time, a willingness to dream of the world as you wish it to be, and a sliver of innocence to take that leap into the unknown and go about making your hopes a reality.