Shel Silverstein

Shel Silverstein was an editor, author, poet, cartoonist, and song writer. He was also a genius in a way that is strikingly similar to being "tit-rocket insane."

The eye-less severed head on the unicycle is obscuring the phrase

Just The Facts

  1. Shel Silverstein wrote poetry, short stories, plays, songs, and drew cartoons.
  2. His whimsical poetic style was the number one cause of happy childhoods. He also drew pictures for Playboy.
  3. He invented video-game slash fan fiction with "The Missing Piece," in which Pac-Man fellates a slice of talking pie for about eight pages.

Cracked on Shel Silverstein

Shel Silverstein is the only person ever to be a song writer, children's author, rock star, and sasquatch. He is also one of the shapers of the world we know today.

He used his powers as rock-star and song-writer to contribute to the legend that is Johnny Cash. At a time when America was its homophobyist, he wrote "A Boy Named Sue," and wasn't even a little bit lynched to death.

As a poet, he introduced several generations of english-speaking children to a whole spectrum of terrors, (such as being crushed to death by an obese baby-sitter, falling into the sky, and even being eaten alive by your own anxieties,) that would make the worries of later life (depression, taxes, nuclear war) seem trite.

He also looked like neo-nazi Chewbacca.

He Looks Like Neo-Nazi Chewbacca

That's the least terrifying picture of Shel Silverstein we could find.

That beard is not just for show. The Silverstein beard had the unique ability to (if you're a woman) give you an instant, four hour orgasm or (if you're a man) put you through puberty -- even if you've already been through puberty.

His work also inspired the screamo band "Silverstein," that decided the best way to commemorate children's surrealist poetry and cartoons was to write album after album of musically identitcal post-hardcore songs with titles like "Fist Wrapped In Blood." They are either

  • missing the point.
  • retarded.

Shel Silverstein is quoted as saying that his art has a "certain amount of realism" to it. More on this in the next section.

In a world where writers strugle for years to get published (some even turning to shitty comedy websites as an outlet for their work) Shel Silverstein told his publishers that they weren't allowed to publish his work in paperback because "that shit is fucking stupid" and it would diminish the experience of reading his work. Those quotation marks may be in the wrong place. Sources close to Silverstein say the real reason the books couldn't be printed in paperback was slim sheets of inked paper was not enough of a barrier to prevent his dark ideas from birthing themselves from the page and rising into the planes of the mortal realm as the twisted abomination of Lovecraftian horror that they were. Dripping with malformed flesh and shackled only by the limits of Silverstein's imagination, they would unleash the dark holocaust of their whims -- and no requiem sung in mortal diction could ensconce the suffering that would ensue.

But the customary cardboard hard-cover should be plenty.

Silverstein's Quotes

Shel Silverstein had a lot of things to say -- as anyone who gets paid to write things down does. A full decade after his death, experts are still unable to determine whether the things he said are the musings of an eccentric genius, or cries for help from a man trapped inside his own psychotic hallucinations. Some scientists insist that there is, in fact, a third option.

"I don't explain my head."

  • If He's An Eccentric: Then he's dodging a stupid question about his hair and lending some more mystique to his already sufficiently mysterious character. He's also being harmlessly funny.
  • If He Was Insane: Then he is a) unable to explain the things happening inside his brain, b) genuinely worried that if he did explain the things happening in his head, it would scare/destroy you, or c) shaved his head in a vain attempt to silence the voices.
  • That Third Option: The man doesn't explain his head, and you shouldn't have fucking asked.

"If you're a worm, sleep late."

  • If He Was an Eccentric: Using the old adage "the early bird gets the worm" as a spring-board, he's making a comical observation about the aggressive nature of modern society, where everyone is taught to have a ruthless, take-no-prisoners attitude and the victims are, both in our metaphors and in real life, written off as non-entities. By giving the worm a personality, and ascribing that personality to you, he is asking you to consider the repercussions of your actions in a manner that capitalist society rarely dwells upon.
  • If He Was Insane: Then he thought he was giving specific advice to worms.
  • That Third Option: He could talk to worms

"I'm writing these poems from inside a lion."

  • If He Was An Eccentric: Then he feels trapped by life, but liberated by the inevitability of death. Our journey through existence, our maturation as human beings, is just like the task of running from a beast that will invariably catch us. Only after we have exhausted ourselves, been devoured by the lion, and accepted our own mortality can we truly devote ourselves to succeeding at the task we were put on this earth to perform. Holy shit. We need to sit down.
  • If He Was Insane: Then he really thought he had been eaten by a lion.
  • That Third Option: He was actually eaten by a lion, and even managed to write poetry in there. (Yeah, Roy Horn? Where the fuck is your poetry?) If this is correct, then it could very well mean that all his poems are literally true. This is the most terrifying (and awesome) possibility.


Many accused Shel Silverstein of encouraging bad behavior in children. This is complete horseshit. After all, it's just fiction. It's not like he explicitly told his readers to do anything bad.


We don't think it's too much to expect kids to be able to differentiate between the real world and fantasy, after all.


Studies have shown that parents spending time with children has more of an impact of their development into adulthood than some stupid alphabet book ever could.


Some responsibility does rest on the parent, after all.

Did that last one encourage arson?