Spare the rod and spoil the child

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An inner city police department responded to a 911 call from a local citizen about a West Indian woman named Ms. Rose, who had been spanking her teenage son, Leroy. He had just started high school and unfortunately had hooked up with a ridiculous rabble of ruthless ruffians who dropped out of school. 

Out of adolescent peer pressure, he began to fall prey to the self-destructive web of their sway. Yea, the kid wanted to be a bad boy: skipping school, smoking dope, spray-painting vulgarities on community walls, joyriding in stolen cars, the works… Worst of all: deceiving his mother about his school attendance. 

“Something’s has to be done before he ends up in juvenile hall or worse,” Ms. Rose told Leroy’s teacher, Mrs. Kriske. The boy had become off the chain over the past year and was heading nowhere fast. “Time out” and “go to your room” had gotten old and just weren’t cutting it any more for his mother. That boy needed his @## whooped!

Ms. Rose came up in the slums of Jamaica back in the 1960s with 13 other siblings. Her family later moved to America to seek opportunity. They moved down south with her great-grandpappy, Mutt, Pete Jenkins (a retired bootlegger), and her grand-ma Beulah May Brown, a.k.a. “Big Mama.” They all lived on a corn farm deep in the hollers of “Shoofly County” in Rotgut, Mississippi. Times were so hard that Big Mama once saw a worm pull a bird to the ground. 

Everyone in the family had to work. No one in her family had ever graduated high school, and even to this day; she was working two jobs and struggling through night school to make a better life for her and her son. As a young mother, Mrs. Rose was exceptionally acquainted with the easier-said-than-done existence of the present world. And with little or no education, the prospect of survival was full of twists and turns. She wasn’t about to let her only child waste the best years of his life by reacting impulsively to his own ill-advised behavior patterns rather than being guided by common sense. 

It soon became visible that once he started stomping with the big dogs and chasing those fast little wayward kittens, Leroy’s hormones would unfortunately impair his intellect and replace it with unsuitable judgments and idiocies. “Oh, so now all of a sudden he thinks he’s grown huh?” Mrs. Rose muttered to herself. “Lord I tell you, dees’ cher’en’ today: Some’uv’em just have to learn stuff the hard way — but the ball stops today!”

“I’m not losing my baby to them d@#% streets,” she thought to herself as she put a 45 record on the old hi-fi that sat in the corner. “I love the boy but he is going to experience the sting of corporal punishment today.” She then prayed to the Lord for guidance. “Lord, why must that hard-headed boy persist in learning things the hard way? I hate having to resort to spanking that boy, but by the threat of conflagration I’m ’bout to lash on his tail-seem to get it right! O Lord, what’s a poor mother to do?”


Mrs. Rose snapped back to earthly matters when she perceived the sound of Leroy creeping into the house. “The Party’s Over” was playing on the old hi-fi. He was stunned that his mother had the day off, but he did grasp, by the look in her eyes, (and the song that was playing on the old record player) that there would be inquiries about his hoodlum hunger. 

“Hi, Ma,” Leroy said, shaken that she was home. “You’re home early.”

“Hi,” she retorted.

The room filled with music. “THE PARTY’S O-VER,” crooned the old hi-fi.“TIME TO CAAALL-IT-A-DAY.”

“How was school today, Son?”


“Don’t ‘huh’ me, boy. If you can ‘huh’ you can hear.”

“Oh-school, amah’- sc-sc-school was just g-g-g-groovy today Mama,” he stumbled through a lie.

“Uh-oh,” he then thought to himself, “I wonder if she knows?”

“School was just g-g-g-groovy today, Mama,” Mrs Rose mimicked. Yea, she was goin’ tear his @## up. “So, school was just g-g-g-groovy today, huh? Are you sure? Think before you answer, boy.”

“Yea, Ma. School was dope.”

“Oh, school was dope, huh?”

“Yes ma’am. I mean, no ma’am! I mean…”

“What you mean is, you don’t know what the #@*% you mean, do you, boy? But you’re gonna know.”

“Yes ma’am, I mean— no ma’am. I mean…”

“Shut up, Lying Boy,” Big Mama cut in, sharing a knowing look with her daughter. “We got a call from your teacher today.”

“W-w-w-what’d she say?” Leroy nervously asked.

“G-g-g-g-go outside and p-p-p-pick Mama a l-l-l-long switch so I can t-t-tell you,” Mrs. Rose whispered, icily mimicking her son’s nervous voice.


“Boy, if you ‘huh’ me onemo-gin, ‘I’m’ a ‘knock you into the middle of next week.”

“Well, make sure you book me for Saturday nights,” he said, uncovering an ounce of angsty courage. “I’m a man now and I think it’s about time I start speaking my mind and going on dates with my new—”


The conversation was ended. Mrs. Rose caught him right upside the jogger-knot! Like a bolt of lightning and a streak of white heat, that boy was knocked clean off of his feet.

“Happy. National. Hind-pots. Whipping. Day, son,” she roared as she didn’t spare the rod.

“Ouch! But Ma, what happened to ‘time out?!’” he wailed as she hit his hind pots. “I’m your son! I’m your son! Remember? Remember?” 

“Oh’nooooo, baby. You was a maa’aan a second ago! Remember? Remember?”

“Ouch! Mama,” he cried as he experienced the cobra-like sting of a backyard switch. “M-m-m-mama, I-I I-don’t wanna be a man no more! I want to go back to b-b-b-being your little boy again!”

“Too late, baby we can’t go back. We have to move forward.”

“If-y-y-y-you r-r-r-r-really love me y-y-y-y you’ll re-think this, Mama!”

“I have, baby. I even took it up with the Lord. I do love you, baby” 

“Mama you know they got laws against whipping your children!”

As if on cue,  there was a knock at the door. “Just a minute!” Mrs. Rose yelled towards it. “Stay put,” she told Leroy.

When she answered the door, there stood a big Irish cop. “Yes, how may I help you officer?”

“Ma’am, we got a call at the precinct about loud cries coming from this house.”

“Yes, that is correct officer.”

“Ma’am, are you in here beating your child?”

“Yes, sir, officer. Didn’t your mother beat you when you were a child?”

“Well, yes ma’am but the—”

“Let me tell you something right now Officer Friendly,” she snarled as she cut him off. “You see that night stick, and that gun that you wear on your utility belt?”

“Well, yes ma’am,” he replied in a pompous manner.

“Well I’m beating my teenage son today so that he can survive you — or better yet, avoid you entirely — tomorrow! So, I want you to stand right here and watch me while I finish beating his @##!”

“I understand ma’am. Have a nice day,” the officer replied as he left.

“Boy, go out back and pick me another switch!”

“But, Ma!”

“Don’t ‘but’ me, boy!” she retorted. “I don’t want to do this either. But one day, maybe you’ll thank me for it — I don’t know what else to do. Now go!”


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