Spanking the Paddle

Spanking the paddle sounds like masturbation, or .  Corporal punishment is what the paddle spank here is about.  I will get to masturbation later, elsewhere, several times per day even.

Corporal is somehow Latin for wood applied to the gluteus maximus.   Not woody wood, that is not a wood pecker, not a soft pecker, a wood paddle, like a ping pong paddle.

Control, lessons, behavioral reinforcement – a paddle to be feared.  Feared to the extent of obey or else.  Psychological trauma inducer?  Or life teacher?  Discipline maker or attitude changer.   Depends on how why where or who is talking or justifying.

Is a well behaved someone a better person?  What is a better person?  Spanked or not spanked.  (Again, not that kind of spanked, or that kind either.)

Mr. Geldstar had a paddle.  He hung the paddle inside the door of his office – the principal’s office.  His was the first office I saw which had a waiting area with a secretary behind a desk and then his office being behind an opaque glass and walnut door which was directly behind her desk.  As if somehow the secretary’s stern but polite manner provided protective access.

The paddle was for the business of punishment.  I don’t imagine he used it on his secretary nor the various vendors and sellers who came by to procure contracts to sell milk or crayons.  A least one of the sellers gave him reasonable stock tips – just the usual kind of deal grease.  Everyone knew there were other incentives given as well.  Part of the job.  Teachers did not get such perks.  Then, at that time all the elementary teachers were women – which is to say single or without children.  Teachers at elementary school weren’t really allowed to have children of their own.  This meant presumably they didn’t need perks other than the love of teaching the children of others.

My mother read Dr. Spock and voted for John Kennedy (then again she only ever voted for the eventual winner).  The message those times was clear enough, spanking a kid is more likely to cause psychological harm than good – although it is the message being sent which is more important.  She advised Mr. Geldstar that I would not be spanked regardless.  He sent me to stutterers class – the segregated room for low performers even though I was not one and did not stutter (more severely learning disabled had an entire separate school).

My mother had me removed from stutterers class as well as soon as she heard about it.  Geldstar maybe felt a little powerless.  It was hard to deny I had the highest scores, despite my disheveled long hair and untucked shirt.  Boys with untucked shirts were otherwise treated to the paddle.  Geldstar would lay in wait as we marched from one end of the building to the other after music class.  He refrained from paddling me, but somehow rather than a victory, it seemed unfair to the others.  The game was cheated.  If there was no threat of a paddle for an untucked shirt, then what was the fun of having an untucked shirt?

I refrained from untucking my shirt, or at least made a half assed effort to tuck it in along with the others when we saw Geldstar stepping out from a doorway with the paddle.

One winter day, a school-wide lunch recess snow ball fight between odd and even grades turned into a unified battle against passing cars.  This took place on a far field and the playground ladies hadn’t ventured that far and didn’t notice for most of the hour.  The girls all stood off to one side, watching.  However, after the bell rang, and we all were running back to the building, there stood Geldstar on the sidewalk outside the entrance with the paddle.  He blocked the route to either set of doors.

He pointed for every boy to go by him as we ran in, to get our dose of the paddle.  I believe he was more amused than angry and possibly wished he was one of the runners rather than holder of the paddle. There were too many of us for more than a single stroke, but most boys dutifully screamed or yelped as they passed.  As I approached, Geldstar and I met eyes.  He wasn’t sure what to do and waved me around with a slight gesture.  I looked him in the eye and was not going to be singled out that way.  He understood I think and went through the motion.  Later, my friend Pickle asked me about it.   I said I wasn’t going to tell my mother.

Geldstar also would offer any boy a dollar to suck the insides from an egg through a pin hole, if they swallowed.  That was too much metaphor for me even then.  Geldstar had chickens on his property, so the eggs were good.  Only one boy did it though, Will Outus, the only boy who could challenge me in wrestling at that time.  No one else dared, only a couple would say they just didn’t want to.  I just shook my head when kids asked me if I was going to do it too.  I’d eat a fresh raw egg, but not that way.

Geldstar died a couple years ago.  I’m not sure the world is any better or worse for his passing, but I feel something passed forever with him – something meaningful and solid and honorable in a unique fitting way of the time.

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