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Next Avenue to the Rescue: A Bedtime Story

A children’s book for grown-ups who want to keep growing

posted by Larry Carlat, March 15, 2013 More by this author

Illustration of Larry feeding his dog, Penny. Maybe you know a Larry.

Larry Carlat served as managing editor for Next Avenue.


Illustration of Larry feeding his dog, Penny. Maybe you know a Larry.
Illustration by Maura Condrick
Nothing gave me more pleasure as a parent than reading children’s books to my kids. The Cat in the Hat, Harold and the Purple Crayon, and Where the Wild Things Are were our favorites, and the only downside was that my sons could never get enough of them, which kept us all up past our bedtimes.
 
Now that I go to sleep at a reasonable hour, I thought it might be fun to write a children’s book about growing older. The simple wisdom of childhood combined with the perspective that comes with maturity makes for perfect bedtime stories — and I can’t wait for my kids to read them to me.

Here’s an excerpt:
 
CHAPTER 1: HEALTH & WELL-BEING
 
Larry’s back hurts.
Larry’s back hurts because he is fat.
Larry is fat because he eats cookies.
Larry should probably exercise more.
And eat cookies less.
Maybe you know someone just like Larry.
 
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CHAPTER 2: MONEY & SECURITY
 
Larry is sad.
Larry is sad because he just looked at his online banking statement.
This is what he saw: :(  :( : (
He then checked his retirement account.
And saw this: :(
Larry poured himself a stiff drink.
"I will be working until I’m a very old man," he said to himself.
His dog, Penny, yawned.
 
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CHAPTER 3: WORK & PURPOSE
 
Larry had a great idea.
He was going to change careers.
Or start a new business.
But first he would return to school.
Or become a volunteer.
It was all very exciting.
Larry ate another cookie and poured himself another stiff drink.
Penny joined him by drinking from her bowl.
 
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CHAPTER 4: LIVING & LEARNING
 
Larry was searching for meaning in his life.
He wasn’t sure if God existed, but wanted to believe in something.
"Are you there, God?" he asked. "It’s me, Larry.”
Apparently, God didn’t remember that book either.
"Hello? Anybody out there?” he asked again.
Crickets.
“I just need one sign that you exist,” Larry said.
That's when the chest pains kicked in.
 
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CHAPTER 5: CAREGIVING
 
Who will care for Larry when he is old?
He asked his older son, Rob, who laughed.
He asked his younger son, Zach, who laughed.
He asked his girlfriend, Maura, who laughed.
He asked his dog, Penny, who wagged her tail.
Larry laughed too.
Everybody was laughing.
HAHAHAHAHA!
And then Larry said, “Hey, wait a minute!”
 
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