Confessions of an Adolescent Whipping Boy

A whopping 65 percent of Americans approve of spanking children, a trend that has not staggered since 1990. Except in 1997, when one angry parent beat up the media statistician in charge of conducting pointless household surveys. Unfortunately, during my childhood, my parents made up the majority.

My girlfriend, Christine, believes in spanking children, but only when they’re really young. In other words, when the child doesn’t know any better and grows curious as to why they’re suddenly the recipient of random household violence. I don’t know if I agree with that. I say spank children when their tiny brains develop enough to begin repressing awful childhood memories.

Little known fact about me, I remember every childhood spanking I ever received. And let me tell you, back in the mid- to late-80s when I was a young tike, corporal punishment was well into its heyday at the Sanders household. Back then, my older brother, Dustin, was too old to spank and my younger brother, Carson, wasn’t born yet, so it was physically impossible to spank him.

My father always seemed like he was licking his chops at the first opportunity for a spanking — smelling childhood mischief in the air the way sharks smell blood in the water. But my father was not an enthusiast for spanking implements such as paddles, belts or freshly-cut switches, the latter being the preferred method of spanking amongst the elderly generations.

My father didn’t need those things because the circumference of his benevolent palm rivaled that of a stop sign. Not to mention, my father took physics and aerodynamics into account. And like an NFL place kicker, he would lick his finger, stick it in the air and determine the direction of any window drafts. Then he would tailor his impending swats accordingly.

On the other hand, mom-spankings were cake. I loved mom-spankings — they were like going to school and learning you had a substitute teacher that day. Yeah, you went through the motions, but you didn’t care.

That is until the day I stole a G.I. Joe from a department store when I was in second grade. Up until that point, I only dabbled in simple mischief, but on that fateful day in 1986, I decided to break one of the Ten Commandments in the toy aisle of a Kmart.

Like most overabundant packaging around toys, I knew I couldn’t shoplift the action figure in my pants unless I ripped open the box, rescued the tiny soldier from his plastic prison and shoved him in my shorts. So obviously, that’s what I did. And I would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for those meddling kids. (Sorry, all of this childhood reminiscing has got me thinking about Scooby-Doo.)

On the way back from the store, my eagerness to play with the figurine consumed me, and I pulled it out of my pocket to admire the spoils of crime. My mother must’ve spotted me in the rearview mirror and quickly deduced the scenario after a brief front seat inquiry.

The next thing I know, my mother slid to a stop along state route 571 like she was pulling into pit row. She walked around the front of our lime green station wagon to the other side of the back seat. She then crawled in and came at me in horror-movie fashion. To this day, what still amazes me is my mother was only three minutes away from home. She apparently felt the spanking couldn’t wait until then.

Once we arrived home a few minutes later, it only got worse.

“Pull ’em down,” my mother said, furiously searching the kitchen utensil drawer for an effective flogging apparatus. She finally ended up raising a green, paddle-shaped spaghetti strainer — I’ll never forget it — over her head like an executioner’s axe. All I remember next was reciting the Lord’s prayer. It was the first, and thankfully only, bare-butt spanking I ever received.

Of course, later that evening, the Sanders Spank-a-Thon became a trilogy. My father, perhaps knowing of my mom’s ineffective spanking skills, bent me over his knee and did his best Ringo Starr impression.

But you know what? I never stole again.

So, let me take this opportunity to personally thank my parents for spanking me. Thank you for turning me into a (somewhat) productive member of society who realizes politicians and the media can’t be blamed for my personal actions. Now that’s the truth, no matter how painful it may be.

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Chuck Briese, Oak Ridge Now

[avatar user="cbriese" size="thumbnail" align="left"] Chuck Briese has been a resident of South Montgomery County since 1988. He and his lovely and patient wife, Leslie, have six sons, with only one left to finish high school. Chuck has been a Cub Scout leader, a Little League baseball coach, a church youth leader, and a general troublemaker over the course of the past 25 years. He is obsessed with his lawn, and likes restaurants that serve food that fills up the plate. He has a tendency to tilt at windmills, which may explain why he started Oak Ridge Now.

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