Monday, July 4, 2011

Oops Upside Your Head!

Little Denny coulda used a little more rod.
My parents spanked me. I didn't like it, but it worked.

I just got back from visiting my mom and my girlfriend. So how did corporal punishment pop into my head, you may ask? Well, I'll tell you. The flight there and the flight back. Kids. Annoying, hyperactive, earbud-wearing, laptop-using, seat-kicking, snot-nosed little mini-people. That's how.

I'll just focus on "Tommy". I wanted to put a ballpoint pen through Tommy's eye. Tommy was about eight and decided that he had to comment on everything. EH-VEH-REE-THEENG. Now I can't blame him for being fascinated with air travel. The first time I was on an airplane – I think I was three or four – I loved it. I loved everything about it. I loved the smell of jet fuel, the way the planes looked, the sound of engines revving up before takeoff, the thump of the wheels on the tarmac as we touched down, the view out the window ("Mom, why are the buildings so small?"), the way the seats reclined, the way clouds looked close-up. So I don't blame Tommy for any of the random, enthusiastic observations he made throughout the two-and-a-half-hour flight. But did he have to muse so loudly? Did he have to push, bang and kick my seatback during at least half the flight at irregular intervals, usually just as I was dozing off? The answer, apparently, is yes.

But I can't really blame him for that either. I've gotta blame somebody though, so I'm gonna tag his dad, who was sitting right next to his precocious offspring the whole time. I wanted to put a pen through his eye too. Because Dad was the one that let Tommy get away with yelling over the sound pumping into his oversized head from the buds pressed into his ears. Because he was the one who let his son test the tensile strength of the tray table's hinge by opening and closing it compulsively and with ever-increasing vigor. I kept twisting my body around to shoot Dad the your-kid's-bugging-the-shit-out-of-me look and he ignored it. At one point little Tommy was leaning forward and had his face mashed up against the window, inches from my ear and decided to make a tsk'ing sound with his tongue and teeth. Tsk, tsk, tsk, tsk, tsk. Now three minutes may not seem like a long time – it's only about the length of your average Beatles song –  but it is when an oversize-headed eight-year-old is tsk'ing a staccato into your ear at 37,000 feet while you're vainly trying to sleep away a cramped flight in coach.

When I was Tommy's age, my parents never let me get away with stuff like that. No, they didn't slap me upside the head in public, but they did spank me. And that would make it clear that inappropriate behavior simply would not be tolerated. I'm all for corporal punishment. Absolutely. Totally. 100%. Spare the rod, spoil the child? Nope. I got whacked. And it worked. (My mom could accomplish this kind of discipline with The Look.) I realize that being a parent can be frustrating, challenging, daunting and plain old tiring. Parents pick their battles and sometimes have to decide to look the other way when their kid acts like Charlie Sheen's love child. But if people choose to have children, and choose to take them to the mall, the movies, on a flight, out in daylight amongst other humans anywhere, they're responsible for doing their best to keep their kids from bugging the crap out of everyone within eye- or earshot.

I still love air travel. I still love the way clouds look as I pass through them en route to cruising altitude. I still like the way jet fuel smells. And I still had an amazing vacation. But lazy parents with obnoxious kids on planes bug the crap out of me.

So yes, my parents spanked me. I didn't like it, but it worked.

Friday, July 1, 2011

I'm baaa-aaack!

Hey Folks! I'm back to the land of heat and humidity and rarin' to go with...something. I have nary a clue what to post anew, but I'm thinkin' about it. Always thinkin'... 

Stay tuned!