Thingish Things

The Truth About Grandpa Joe

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Aug• 12•11

Grandpa Joe Leaps from His Butt Upon Hearing the Good News

Something has always bothered me in the story Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It’s Grandpa Joe –the guy who lays around in bed all day every day until Charlie nails the Golden Ticket. Then ol’ Joe is up and dancing circles around his bed –the one he’s rotted in for 20 years –gaily celebrating his expected ride in the Wonkavator.

Charlie and the Chocolate factory visited me twice today entirely by coincidence. The first time was while driving in a minivan to New Hampshire to pick up two daughters at a summer camp. I picked up a CD of Roald Dahl stories before the five-hour trip in a desperate effort to have on board entertainment for our youngest one, and there among Dahl’s characters were Charlie and Grandpa Joe. I had forgotten he created them.

Upon arriving at the camp, we learned that the annual camp play was…you guessed it. I’ve always loved the movie Willie Wonka and the Chocolate factory with its Wang Doodlers and Vernicious Canibs, but, frankly, I’ve always wanted to raise my hand and object to the Grandpa Joe story line.

Charlie Bucket’s family is destitute. They eat cold cabbage soup and stale bread on the best of days, and Mrs. Bucket, Charlie’s mom, works her fingers to the bone doing laundry to support Charlie, her out-of-work husband, and four bedridden mouths, one of which is Grandpa Joe.

When Charlie wins the Golden Ticket, Grandpa Joe feigns surprise that he can even stand. Two days later he’s flying around a wind tunnel with a belly full of Fizzy Lifting Drink.

I just want to say this once in my life, just to be on record.

Grandpa Joe is a B-U-M, and no one can tell me otherwise.

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One Comment

  1. Me says:

    Next you’ll be telling us there’s no such thing as a BFG or a peach big enough to live in…

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