Texas is bringing back corporal punishment, reports the Washington Post. Stories about paddling in public schools are guaranteed to make me feel old as hell. Everyone treats it like a practice banned after 1932, but I was paddled repeatedly.
Even as a high school freshman. Yes, really. In shop class, I was kicked back in my drafting chair and my friend Craig shook me out of it. I jokingly called him an asshole. Then an actual asshole, Mr. Barker, the teacher (who would later challenge me to a fistfight) dragged me up to see the principal and be beaten for swearing.
That was 1988, the year of a major crackdown. It was also the first year of our now legendary football coach, who just retired with a field and stadium named for him and his family. He was rumored to carry a boat oar with holes drilled in it to reduce drag, like the thing was tested in a fucking Lockheed-Martin wind tunnel. Shrimps like me got it from Mr. Morton or Mr. Beshears. But Coach Grissom was said to be like a Special Ops paddler, called in to discipline the toughest, most iron-assed bastards in the school. Or so I heard. Looking back it's ridiculous to think they hired a football coach and made corporal punishment his job description, but when you're 14, you don't know shit and you'll believe anything.
I was paddled in sixth grade for telling dirty jokes at lunch. I got ratted out by my own regular lunchtable, the goddamn traitors. Mr. Wagoner, the middle school principal and father of one of my brother's friends, administered the blows. First he made me tell him the joke I was telling at lunch. I gave it my best shot, even giving a raised-eyebrow jazz-hands gesture with the punchline (it was a long narrative, about an indian and a whorehouse, and I forgot the audience momentarily.) "Ha ha, that's funny son," Mr. Wagoner said. "Now bend over."
Back in primary school my friend Detrick and I vandalized the school menu. I think I rearranged the letters to say something like asses and dookie was being served for lunch, I forget. Stil, we managed to literally cry our way out of an encounter with the fearsome Mr. Phillips. I never met the man but I still dread the thought of him to this day. My brother was not so lucky, getting the business end of a plank in his third grade year. I'm sure Fletch will deny it but somewhere I got the impression he actually did try the old dictionary-down-the-pants protection, except he used the N volume of the World Book. True or not, he ultimately took his punishment honestly.
Where the hell was I? Oh yeah, it's Kotaku Off Topic. Entertain yourselves with tales of your own childhood beatings, or the following subjects.
- This Icelandic volcano thing is officially not cute anymore. It's now the fourth day airspace is closed over much of Europe and a rail strike in France is very unhelpful.
- Sometimes "This coffee tastes like shit," is the desired reaction.
- A Texas high school is building an 18,000 seat football stadium. The school has an enrollment of 5,000.
- Friday night I jokingly claimed over Twitter that the PBS NewsHour's trumpet fanfare was my ringtone. The NewsHour heard that, doggedly investigated the claim, and now says it will soon provide one to all dedicated viewers. The tone's availability is TBA.