Most of us baby boomers have spent what seemed (at the time) like a good piece of our lives reading bedtime stories to our kids. What sets boomer Perry Block of Havertown, Pennsylvania, apart from the rest of us is, he’s still doing it. Here is Perry’s One Last Bedtime Story.
My son Brandon was 19-years-old on April 25th. I’m proud that he is turning into a happy, healthy, and intelligent young man with a wide variety of interests and a well-adjusted and positive outlook on life and the future.
Just one thing….
Why the hell can’t he still be 6?
The prior April 25th, during the year before he left for college, I decided to attempt to rekindle those golden days of six-year-old yore ‘ere they slip away to where I can’t chloroform them and forcibly drag them home kicking and screaming.
I thought it’d be nice one last time to read my just-18-year-old Brandon a bedtime story.
“Brandon,” said I, “I’ve got an idea. How about tonight I favor you with a bedtime story?”
“I’m good, Dad.”
“No, Bran. You see, this is a life experience that shortly we’ll never be able to duplicate. Plus, not to invoke guilt, I diapered you, took you to Disney World, and bought you an X-Box.”
“Okay. As long as it doesn’t take too long. Got a math test tomorrow.”
“I’ve selected a wonderful book: The Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown.”
“Dad, I believe that’s Goodnight (pause) Moon. The way you read it with the word ‘the’ and no pause makes it sound like a midnight fraternity prank from Animal House.”
“Aren’t you going to ask me something before we get started?”
“I’m good, Dad.”
“No, you see, you’re supposed to ask ‘May I have a drink of water, please?’”
“I’m not thirsty.”
“No, you’re REQUIRED to ask it! It’s part of the gestalt.”
“All right, all right! May I have a drink of water, please?”
“We have tap water, Deer Park, and Evian.”
“Dad, read the story.”
“Yeah, sure. Here goes … In the great green room, there was a telephone, and a red balloon … Hey, Bran, I wonder why the characters are bunnies. Do you think Ms. Brown was trying to illustrate the oneness and commonality of all creatures great and small?”
“I think she thought bunnies were cute, Dad.”
“Good point … And a comb and a brush and a bowl full of mush … Say, Bran, did I ever make you my special lump-less Cream of Wheat?”
“Yeah, Dad. Tasted like a bowl full of mush.”
“You’ll have to try it again … And a quiet old lady whispering ‘hush’ … Hey! Quiet old lady? I don’t like that reference! It ought to be a pensive but still lithe and attractive post-Boomer woman.”
“Dad, this isn’t a politically correct reading of Huck Finn. I think you ought to read it like it is.”
“You’re right, of course. Now where was I? Oh yeah … Goodnight moon. Goodnight cow jumping over the moon… You know, that would be quite a prodigious accomplishment for a cow! Do you think Cirque de Soleil could train one to ….”
“I think Cirque de Soleil is doing quite well without a cow act, Dad.”
“Yeah, probably … Goodnight stars … Why, that sounds like Peter Marshall at the end of the nighttime version of the Hollywood Squares. Ha, that Charley Weaver!”
“Dad. Math test tomorrow.”
“You’re right, you’re right, just trying to lighten things up … Goodnight nobody. Goodnight mush … Now why would anybody say ‘Goodnight nobody?’ Unless it’s me at the end of an evening after getting my usual response on Twitter.”
“Dad, please. Could we just move on?”
“Sure, Brandon … And Goodnight noises everywhere … The End.
“Very nice, Dad. Goodnight.”
“My knees are kind of a little stiff right now.”
“May I have a drink of water, please?”