Older But Not Wiser

I took my 4-year-old granddaughter, Summer, to the bookstore to find some paperbacks that I would read to her.


Even though Summer is brilliant, she did not choose The Brothers Karamazov. However, she did choose Monster High, Trolls, Dora the Explorer, and My Little Pony.

I then quickly leafed through the books to make sure they were right for her. My Little Pony had characters named Pinkie Pie, Sugar Grape, and Mrs. Cake, and I felt like I was going into a diabetic coma. I thought the book was a little too juvenile for Summer.

Too juvenile for a 4-year-old—was I insane? OK, that’s a rhetorical question.

I didn’t want to buy her that book, but my motives were pure. I wanted to keep her intellect at a high level. OK, I was also trying to save the $4.99. Anyway, I surreptitiously put My Little Pony back on the shelf.

When I took Summer home, I was sure she wouldn’t realize what I had done. But as we looked through the books, she immediately started saying, “Where’s My Little Pony? I wanted you to read about Pinkie Pie. Pinkie Pie, where are you?”

And if that weren’t bad enough, a small Little Pony tear started to roll down Summer’s eye.

I did the only thing a grandfather could do. I lied. I told her the store forgot to give us the book.

“They’re bad people,” Summer said.

“They’re very bad people,” I replied with outrage in my voice.

I then rushed back to the bookstore, but I couldn’t find My Little Pony anywhere. I ran to the checkout line and there was a mother with her little boy buying the last copy.

“Excuse me,” I said, “I already bought that book.”

“Really? It was for sale.”

“I mean I bought it in my mind,” I feebly said.

“Well, I just bought it in reality,” the mother replied as she handed the cashier some money.

“OK, how about if I give you $6 for it? That’s a dollar profit.”

“No thanks, my son really wants it.”

“It’s just a stupid book,” I desperately said.

Her young boy looked at me for a second and then a small Little Pony tear started to form out of the corner of his eye.

I did the only thing I could do. I turned to the mother and said, “OK, I’ll give you $7.”

The mother then gave me a look that said she was going to call security. It was quite a look.

I quickly left and drove 40 miles to another bookstore (OK, it was only 7 miles). There I found a whole section of My Little Pony books. It was the holy grail of My Little Pony.

I thought I should buy five books just to make up for my sin. However, after careful consideration, I just bought one—hey, those politicians are talking about cutting our Social Security.

When I got to Summer’s house, I started reading My Little Pony to her. And maybe it wasn’t The Brothers Karamazov, but it wasn’t that bad, and Pinkie Pie is kind of cute. Truth be told, I never read The Brothers Karamazov, but I did read the Cliffs Notes (OK, I couldn’t even get through the Cliffs Notes).

As I read aloud, I glanced over and saw my granddaughter’s enthralled, happy face, and a small Little Pony tear started to form in the corner of my eye.

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