When are we going to stop beating our children?

I was having a conversation with a neighbor’s daughter once in the kitchen as I poured myself a cup of coffee.

“What’s that”, she asked.

“Coffee”, I slurped.

“I can’t take coffee”.

“Why not?”, I wanted her to answer the question very very badly coz like, I’m always seeing on TV that kids shouldn’t drink coffee till they’re like 34, and I’ve always wanted to know why.

“Mummy will beat me if I drink coffee”.

“Why?”, I asked her.

“She’ll just beat me”.

So child doesn’t know why she can’t take coffee. Mummy has more time to beat child over and over than explain why coffee is bad for her. And I guarantee you child is drinking coffee.

See, this is what beating ever did for me. I learned to lie, cheat, steal, evade responsibility for bad behavior, frame others for my sins and breathe a sigh of relief as they got punished for it…

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Oh dear. I was a very naughty girl.

The worst effect though was academic. Before the environs of school I was beaten for having a literary and not mathematical head. Ironically it turns out I do have a head for numbers but my brain just preferred literature more.

Enter school where I was beaten for failing damn near everything except English and Composition (God bless you, colonialists). The more I was beaten, the worse I got. By the time I finished school I believed I had an I.Q of (sssshhhhh) and made no attempt to see if I didn’t.

This beating thing is evident as children mature into adults. We don’t talk, negotiate or compromise. Punitive measures are the easiest ways to get results out of people and that, I assure you, is one of the reasons we are backward. We think backward, we act backward, we stay backward. Period.

To wrap it up. A few days ago, I rescued a little duckling which I kept for a few days while I canvassed the neighborhood looking for who had lost a duck. Upon finding the owner, I was returning the little darling back home when I was besieged by neighborhood children who wanted to hold it. Then it happened.

“When it pupus in the wrong place, do you beat it?”, asked a victim of domestic abuse.

“What?”, I exclaimed. “Why would I beat it for anything?”

All the children were suddenly attentive.

“You mean you never beat it?”

I adopted a look of shock and horror on my face.

“Why would I beat it? I mean, why would you even ask me that? Beating is…beating is….my goodness, beating is just…”.

A light bulb flickered in the mind of one of the children.

“Is beating bad?”, he asked me.

“Yes. Beating is very very bad”.

“But Mummy-”

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Oh, fuck mum

Does anyone know why supermarkets and their friends need to hold our laptops for us?

So there’s this thing where an office or hotel or whatever tells you a retarded rule and if you object to it you’re told ‘you can go if you don’t want’.

For the sake of my future blood pressure I go along with most of these policies until last week when I guess my inner warrior was dying from lack of warriorship.

I was in an ‘important’ ‘upscale’ supermarket chain when a security guard approached me and told me I wasn’t allowed to enter with my two bags. I had to leave one at that counter. You know the counter where they have this disclaimer that if you leave your valuables there, they are not responsible if they are stolen or damaged?

That counter.

So I told the guard, “I have a laptop in this bag on my back and my handbag on my shoulder. You want me to leave one of them at your counter?”

“No, you can keep your bag”, he kindly obliged. “But you must leave your laptop at the counter”.

So I asked the guard, “Would you tell me to leave my mobile phone at the counter?”

“No”.

“Well, my laptop is as important as my mobile phone. It’s staying on my back. You are free to screen my handbag on the way out if you think I’ve stolen anything but none of my electrical equipment is going to your counter with 10,000 disclaimers”.

“Madam, it is the policy”, he sneered. “If you refuse, you will have to leave the supermarket and find somewhere that’s your level”.

Oh Negro, you didn’t.

“I’m not going anywhere”, I smiled sweetly at him. “I’m going to shop and you are going to look for the manager and tell him or her to drag me out of here by force because I’ve refused to leave my laptop with you. Peace!”

And so I shopped in peace. But man, oh man, I need me an explanation from someone who understands this rule. Why are customers told to leave valuable items in places with disclaimers against theft and damage?

Part of the reason I have serious issues with this policy is that I once forgot an item at those counters and remembered days later. When I returned it was no longer there because disclaimer. Go figure.

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These ones get to inspect the items they force you to leave there. And that, children, is what we refer to as an oxymoron.