Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Two Times My Dad Spanked Me

The other day Thing 3 (our 21 month-old toddler girl) decided to take a crayon and draw all over the refrigerator, the front door, a baby toy, and a few other places that I'm sure I haven't discovered yet.

She's still young enough that she doesn't fully understand the ramifications of drawing on the refrigerator with crayons. At this point the best we can do is keep telling her, "Only draw on paper!" I guess we could spank her, but at her age I don't think it would be very effective.

My "Little Cutie" on her way to Crayola up more of the house.

But, this incident did bring to mind a couple of experiences from my own childhood.

I honestly don't recall if my Mom ever spanked me. She probably did, but if so I don't remember. My Dad is another story. I distinctly remember being spanked by my Dad on two different occasions. (He might have spanked me more than twice, but I doubt it.)

My Dad was a large, imposing man. (6'4" tall; over 240 pounds.) He wasn't very scary, though, because he was usually good-natured. He rarely lost his temper. (Except when he was working with cows on the farm.) But that meant that on the few times that he did get upset with me, I knew he was serious.

I drew on the wall with crayon. I was four or five or six years old at the time. Old enough that I knew better. I think it might even have been one of those "wait 'til your Dad gets home" situations. Mom didn't use that phrase very often, so I was filled with foreboding as I awaited his arrival.

But, the bottom line is, I did something wrong. I knew it was wrong when I did it. I was punished. And I never drew on the walls with crayons again.

The other time my Dad spanked me is more memorable. I recall everything leading up to the spanking.

I was in first or second grade, and I had a friend who loved to tell jokes. (We'll call him Daren "Chuck.") Chuck would get his hands on every kind of joke book he could find, and he would tell the jokes all the time. Silly jokes, and knock-knock jokes, and pickle jokes. Yes, there was a book of pickle jokes. Jokes like:

What's green and wears a mask?
The Lone Pickle.

Or, What's black and white and green and black and white?
Two penguins fighting over a pickle.

This is what passed as high humor when we were in first grade. Chuck loved these joke books, and he loved to tell the jokes. I thought they were funny, and I sometimes retold those jokes.

One time, after a long day at work, Dad was sitting in his chair reading the newspaper. (Reading the newspaper: it's a thing people used to actually do.) I was so excited by Chuck's latest batch of pickle jokes that I felt the need to tell some of them to Dad. Except, I couldn't really get Dad's attention. (He was probably too busy reading "Dear Abby.")  I told Dad a particularly "funny" pickle joke. He didn't laugh. Befuddled that my best pickle joke couldn't elicit a reaction, I said to Dad, "Gee, you're dumb!"

Well, THAT got his attention!

Dad looked away from his "Wizard of Id" and "Hagar the Horrible," and gave me a stern look. "What did you say?" he asked.

"I said, 'Gee, you're dumb,'" I stupidly replied.

I quickly discovered that calling my Dad "dumb" was a dumb thing to do.

I learned my lesson. I didn't ever call my Dad, or any other adult, dumb ever again. (Well, at least until the current election cycle.)

I'm not a big fan of corporal punishment. I think that usually there are better ways to correct children. But, I do believe that in special circumstances and rare occasions, a spanking can be what is needed.

I know, at least, that the spanking my Dad gave me taught me a valuable lesson that I'll always remember: pickle jokes aren't really that funny.

No comments:

Post a Comment