A friend's kid was recently playing with her toy boats in the sink. She got distracted and left the sink running, causing a flood that seeped through the floor into the lower level, ruining some ceiling tiles and soaking the carpet. Not the worst offense, but certainly an offense. In the pussified manner of my generation's parents, my friend asked the child to choose an appropriate punishment.
She suggested that she forgo love and cuddles before bed that night.
And then come bedtime, she asked for them anyway.
At this point, I'm imagining the audience experiencing one of two reactions.
- "Awwww, how sweet!"
- "What the fuck? I mean, what the fucking fuck?!"
I fall into the latter camp. I know what my dad's response would have been. It seldom varied. "John, go upstairs and get me a belt."
It was a particularly sadistic touch to make the child fetch the agent of his own butt's destruction. But where my siblings saw only cruelty, I saw opportunity. I would first retrieve my mom's incredibly wide, soft belt.
"NO WOVEN BELTS!" Dad would scream, sending me back.
Staying in mom's closet for the while, I would next try cloth belts.
"NONE OF YOUR MOTHER'S BELTS!"
Why, that's practically an invitation to raid my sisters' bedrooms, not that I needed much of one.
"NO GIRLS' BELTS OF ANY KIND HONEST TO GOD QUIT DICKING AROUND!"
There was, I knew, a point of diminishing return nigh. Yes, I was hoping that Dad would tire of this exercise and, at the least, calm down enough where my punishment wouldn't be too severe. The trick was to give him time to calm down without actually pissing him off more. God forbid. If he got pissed off enough, he'd go upstairs himself and select one of my belts, the thinnest and therefore most painful lashes imaginable. I swear they had hooks.
So at a certain point, I would have to bring him a legitimate child-abusing device. It would be one of his belts, something as wide as possible with surprisingly little mass. He wouldn't be happy, but this is what he got for being lazy.
"How about no wuv and cuddles at bedtime, instead?" I imagine my 9 year-old self suggesting at belt-point, causing my father's head vein to finally pop.
I'm probably quite alone in the sentiment, but I am amused.