If you are age 75 or less, you have undoubtedly heard or read the children’s book Goodnight, Moon. It is a staple, at least in American children’s literature. The book was published in 1947, and written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd. It is estimated that the book has sold somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 million copies, which is almost as many times as I baked banana bread during the pandemic.
According to a great article on the book, the young bunny protagonist (Hare of Easttown?) says goodnight to all of his possessions, which represent “a world he already knows, and he is the one who chooses his goodnights. The bunny is consistently in control of his narrative, even though in the end the narrative makes him ready to sleep.” That is quite a contrast to our recent experience. Our narrative was not our own and who could sleep knowing what was going on outside our door among the people wearing actual pants?
At the start of Goodnight Moon, the clock next to the bunny’s bed says 7 o’clock. By the time the bunny has said good night to everything in his control, the time is 8:10. Similarly, when we woke up at the beginning of the COVID nightmare, the clock said 2020 and now that we are finally beginning to come out of what amounted to a total loss of control, it says 2021. What the hell happened to all that time and what do I have to show for it? I can show you where all the banana bread now lives on my body; that’s what I have to show for it.
In any event, as a homage to all that is great about Goodnight Moon and banana bread, here is my latest contribution to literature:
Goodbye Zoom by Me In the small back room There was a cellphone And a feeling of doom And a real sense that- The pandemic was most inopportune And there were people everywhere feeling despair And thwarted ambitions And heavy decisions And bored kids in the house And always your spouse And a brain turned to mush and an Instacart rush And Clorox wipes for every food item you touched Goodbye room Goodbye Zoom Goodbye cat walking behind every Zoom Goodbye mask And red eyes by noon Goodbye puzzles Goodbye bubble Goodbye kitchen We’re out on a mission We’ve opened the locks Even put on some socks* Goodbye to my house And the dent on my couch Goodbye to TV And to being a grouch Hello neighbors Out walking at dusk And hello to the friends we can now see and touch Goodbye fear Hello air Please get vaccinated so we don’t return there. *and pants
The original words are below, in case you somehow managed to forget them!
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
In the great green room There was a telephone And a red balloon And a picture of-
The cow jumping over the moon And there were three little bears sitting on chairs And two little kittens And a pair of mittens And a little toy house And a young mouse And a comb and a brush and a bowl full of mush And a quiet old lady who was whispering “hush” Goodnight room Goodnight moon Goodnight cow jumping over the moon Goodnight light And the red balloon Goodnight bears Goodnight chairs Goodnight kittens And goodnight mittens Goodnight clocks And goodnight socks Goodnight little house And goodnight mouse Goodnight comb And goodnight brush Goodnight nobody Goodnight mush And goodnight to the old lady whispering “hush” Goodnight stars Goodnight air Good night noises everywhere