My significant girlfriend said this morning, "You're the most ridiculous person I know... redonculouso!"
That may be true, but she was denouncing my parenting attitudes. And in this case, I believe I am at least partially right, if not totally correct.
"Bad kids need a good whipping and if that doesn't work they should be sent to military school to straighten them out," I countered.
"You're so f***ing wrong. Oh My God," she continued to harp. At this point all I began to hear were the muted sounds of a trumpet like the parents in Charlie Brown holiday special.
I admit, while I'm most certainly, almost perfectly right, I may also be wrong, or at least a behind-the-times-once-correct-but-now-not-correct kind of wrong.
Let me start from the beginning. Once upon a time I, too, was a kid. I know it's hard to believe but I started out as two zygotes, merging to become the lump of flesh, bone, sinew and partially functioning nerve tissue I am today.
While being reared, I challenged authoritay just like any red-blooded American youth to assert my independence. I occasionally encountered old-fashioned parenting attitudes that I thought were wrong. This occasionally led to being grounded and even the occasional ass-beating. The ass-beatings brought new meaning to the phrase "being reared", unlike the modern prison definition of "being reared." It was a time when you could beat your children without Wal-Mart security cameras watching your every move. Ahhh, the good old days.
On one particular occasion the old-fashioned attitudes reared their ugly head. When my father had mistakenly thought I was mouthing off at him while working in the corn feild, he threw a shovel at me. For the record, I may have been mouthing off but that part of my memory could have had some selective censoring and I don't recall those details. The next few seconds, however, are burned into my brain.
I watched the shovel woosh-woosh like a helicopter blade towards me in slow motion. I had plenty of time as he hammer-threw it from about 75 yards away. As it neared, I timed my jump to avoid it as I believed it would fall short. Time seemed to slow down even more as it got closer and as I jumped, the handle whacked me in the shin. My lack of ability to jump high (another story for another time) had allowed the shovel to hit me. But had I not jumped, I may not have had the opportunity to make zygotes of my own and spawn to this very day.
While it didn't break my leg, I still can feel the dent it left in my shin. It is a reminder that no matter what I had done to deserve (or not deserve) my punishment and suffer the wrath of an angry dad, sometimes you got to... crap, I don't know. What lesson is there in this? Don't mouth off to someone with a shovel? Sometimes you got to jump to avoid a ball-severing blow? Maybe I should have ran to one side or the other? Long ago child abuse laws were more lax? Or how about sometimes you need to create dramatic situations to have a good story to tell later.