Growing up, I had to choose between what was right and what was wrong. Didn't we all? I mean, some people paid attention, actually learning from their mistakes and those that didn't are now housed in a state or federal housing unit, compliments of the government (and tax payers). However, I'm specifically talking about:
My mother always seemed to take a diplomatic approach to solving any crisis, like most mothers are wont to do. My Dad? Not so much. His theory was to either:
1) Get even; or
2) Get even
Those two theories are his answer to everything.
I think I was 5 or 6 years old at the time and learned my first lesson of getting even after running home crying because the little boy next door was, "mean to me."
Mom's solution: "Well, if he's mean to you, then maybe you shouldn't play with him," or "I can talk to his mother."
Dad's solution: "Punch the little sumbitch in the nose."
Of course, he made sure my mother wasn't in ear shot when he told me that, lest he get punched in the nose too.
The next day, while playing with the Little Punk, he broke a bottle over my arm, so I did what any 5 or 6 year old would do, I threw rationality and diplomacy out the window and punched him in the nose because Dad said I could. I think I even uttered those words, "Dad said I could, so there!"
Little Punk's nose was a gusher of blood and he stood there shocked, staring at me before it was his turn to run home crying. Vengeance was mine and I felt vindicated, even though I didn't know what those two words meant at the time.
Naturally, his mother came over to "talk" to my mother about the incident, never mind that the little bastard broke a bottle over my arm. I ran to my room to hide, because I lived during a time that it wasn't unheard of to have a belt taken to my backside.
Side note: If you ask me (you didn't, but I'm going to tell you anyway), I think that's what is wrong with society today. I guarantee that if you took a belt to the backsides of these teenagers today, things would be a lot different. But then again, I believe that discipline falls back onto the parents and it doesn't have to be at the end of a belt. It's all in how the kids are raised. Maybe the belt should be taken to the backsides of those parents, yes? YES!
Anyway, I was gone like a fart in the wind, with no scent (or trace) of my existence. In fact, I just knew the belt was coming, so I proceeded to put on every single pair of underwear that I owned under my pants. Ingenuity at its finest! At the time, I felt that more padding was the answer to first world problems.
I could hear the conversation going on between his mother and mine. Then I heard Dad chime in saying, "I told her to punch him in the nose! I bet the little sumbitch won't bother her again."
My mother was slightly appalled at his suggestion and I'm quite sure he had a stern talkin' to later, but I never knew about it.
I didn't get in trouble, but I did get The Talk about what's right and what's wrong. If I could go back to that day, would I have reacted in the way that I did? You betcha! In fact, at the ripe old age of 43, I'm not above punching people in the nose. I might not act on it (maybe), but don't think it doesn't cross my mind.
So, was this a defining moment that shaped me into who I am today? Probably one of many, because I still don't take any crap!
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