Skip to content

Going Forward To Go Back

January 18, 2021

Never give up. Never surrender.
– Jason Nesmith

Dr Seuss wrote a story called “The Zax.” It’s part of the book “The Sneetches and Other Stories. It was even turned into a film in typicaly surrealistic Dr Seuss. The story is simply, like many Seuss stories are. It’s the story of a South-Going Zax who only goes South. He (at least I think it’s a he, who knows with Seuss’ characters) only ever walks South. That’s how he got his name. Unfortunately, he meets a North-Going Zax who has the exact same singlemindeness, except he only goes North.

They meet and neither one will yield. Life goes on around them as they stand stubbornly facing each other. Neither one willing to yield and therefore both doomed to defeat.

It’s a sad tale in many ways. But like many Seuss stories, it has a deeper meaning.

I’ve often thought of that unwavering, unyielding stance. Stories sometimes paint that unyeilding staunch defender as the hero, a person to be looked up to.

And there are times when we should stand strong, unwavering, unyielding. But, most times, it’s a mistake. A terrible mistake.

My daughter does service at a thift store in American Fork. She doesn’t drive, so I take her and pick her up. American Fork is North of where we live in Pleasant Grove.

Sometimes, we are running late. What’s the best way to get their from here? Go North, right? Why should I head South? South is the opposite direction. It’s the wrong way. I should be a North-going Zax.

The problem is that going North winds through a bunch of neighborhoods. If I go South for just a couple of blocks, I can catch State Street and head North much quicker.

I studied judo for a while when I was kid. I quit when I realized my brother who was two years older than me was using it as an excuse to “practice” beating me up. (Not really, but it felt that way.)

Anyway, the point of judo is not to be a stone wall, but to be a rubber band. (Clearly I didn’t stay long enough to learn the best analogies.) The object is to use the attackers strength against him. (Probably definitely a him if you are truly defending yourself.) You attack by defending. You go North by going South.

The lessons apply in life as well as driving and Zax walking. I enjoy political discussions. Not arguments. Actual discussions. But, to have a discussion, or even an enjoyable debate, you have to be willing to give and take. You have to admit when your opponent makes a good point. And you have to see the person you are debating with not as an opponent. Not as a North-going Zax to your South-going Zax, but instead as a fellow traveller. Someone you might enjoy talking to.

Or, you can stand facing off with those you disagree with while the world revolves around you.

Sometimes you have to go backwards to go forwards.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (
LinkedIn (
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2021 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply