That One Magical Time

This is written as a children’s story:

Bert and Larry share a room together at the Home. Bert likes to read, but Larry likes TV. Larry is hard-of-hearing, so he likes to keep the volume up high. When Bert gets annoyed by the sound, he shouts, “Larry!”

“Lar-ry!”, he shouts, until he shouts loud enough to get Larry’s attention. “Turn the TV down!”, he snaps. And Larry turns the TV down. For a while. Because, you see, Larry is hard-of-hearing, so he likes to keep the volume up high.

Sometimes Larry wakes up in the middle of the night and gets lonely and bored and scared. So he turns the TV on. When Bert gets annoyed by the sound, he shouts, “Larry!”

“Lar-ry!”, he shouts, until he shouts loud enough to get Larry’s attention. “Turn the TV down!”, he snaps. And Larry turns the TV down. For a while. Because, you see, Larry is hard-of-hearing, so he likes to keep the volume up high.

Larry and Bert lived together for many years and if Bert shouted at Larry 10 times a day, then over the course of 10,000 days he shouted at Larry perhaps 100,000 times or more.

Maybe Larry could have bought a pair of headphones for the TV.

Maybe Bert could have tried to get Larry to paint or to keep fish or maybe they could have played checkers together.

Maybe Larry could have read to Bert, or Bert to Larry.

Maybe Bert could have unplugged the TV and wheeled it away.

Maybe Larry could have found someone new to live with.

Maybe Bert could have, too.

But instead, Bert held onto the hope that, although shouting at Larry did not solve the problem the 100th time,

and it did not solve the problem the 1,000th time,

and it did not solve the problem the 10,000th time,

and it did not solve the problem the 100,000th time,

that perhaps there was That One Magical Time, not yet reached, which would have made Larry suddenly become more thoughtful and considerate and spend each evening lonely and bored and scared, sitting by himself in the darkness of the middle of the night.

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