Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bedtime Story

Last week, my son Brandon turned 16.

It’s an exciting time for him. Driving an automobile is just around the corner that he’ll soon be driving around himself, new friends and experiences beckon on the horizon, and a lifetime of promise and opportunity awaits.

Why the fuck can’t he still be 6?

At 6, a child loves you and looks up to you as the Center of the Universe in the same manner as he or she might view the Old Testament God, only without the smiting.

At 16, that same child would gladly place you in a rocket ship like Superman's parents and blast you off to a planet so distant not even Superman could get you back, which Superman wouldn't even do because at 16 he would have blasted his own parents off to a distant planet if they hadn't blasted him off first! 

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 Brandon a bed time 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 I diapered you, took you to Disney World, and bought you an X-Box.  Not to  invoke Jewish guilt, but you owe me!”

"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 physical 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.”

“Oh, yeah, right. You know, I’m glad there’s no Goodnight, Spiders. I would never sleep, worrying that one of those Nazis of the insect world …”

“Dad, not the time for your life-defining phobia.”

“You're right, you're right, just trying to lighten things up ...  Goodnight nobody. Goodnight mush … Now why would anybody say Goodnight nobody? I’d get about as much response as I do on Twitter!” 

“Dad, please. Could we just move on?”

“Sure, Brandon ...  And Goodnight noises everywhere ... The End.

“Very nice, Dad. Goodnight.”

“Uh, Bran?”

“Yeah, Dad?”

“My knees are kind of a little stiff right now.”


“May I have a drink of water, please?”



ficwriter said...

I long for six and sixteen. My 24-year-old is flying back to London today after a wonderful visit for spring break. So I'm sad and needed a laugh today. Thank, Perry.

Perry Block said...


Do you want to try reading Goodnight Moon to the 24-year-old?

babaamor said...

LOLLL!! Hilarious! Great dialogue!

Perry Block said...

A very belated thank you!