"Can I come out NOWWWW?"

Thursday, November 12, 2009

When I was a kid I got in trouble a LOT. I wasn't particularly bad...just noisy. And bossy. And sassy. Hard to believe, right? So trying to think back on my most creative punishment is tricky.

I remember dozens of times as a little kid being in a grocery store or a department store in my puffy winter coat and ski pants, ready to pass out from the heat in the store. I was probably sleepy and not in the mood to be out shopping. So naturally, I'd get antsy. Maybe I'd start pulling random food off the shelves and dropping it into the cart. Maybe I'd pick at my baby siblings in hopes I'd get them crying so we'd be rushed out of the store. Or I'd just start whining for treats.

At a certain point my dad would hiss in my ear, "IF YOU DON'T STOP THAT RIGHT NOW I'M GOING TO PULL DOWN YOUR PANTS AND SPANK YOU RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THIS STORE IN FRONT OF ALL THESE PEOPLE!!!!!" I don't know what it was about that threat but whatever I was doing, I stopped. The funny thing was, we never ever got spanked--it was a totally idle threat. But something about the embarrassment of potentially being bare-assed in front of a store full of well-behaved children and their NICE parents was enough to shut me up. Every time.

Once, when I was around kindergarten age, I slapped my sister and of course she started blatting. My mother was exasperated. "That's it!! You're going to your room for ONE HOUR!!"

I had no comprehension of one hour. I went to my room. I yelled out after probably three or four minutes. "Can I come out yet?"


A couple minutes later. "Can I come out yet?"


I don't know how long she kept me in that room. It felt like DAYS. I kicked my bed and screamed and bawled and hyperventilated. I totally flipped out. When I was released I ran outside like a banshee. These days I'd give anything for an hour in my room in the middle of the day, to read or write or just SIT. Back then, it was like Alcatraz.

As I got bigger the punishments varied a little. Sending me to my room was no longer effective when I could crawl out the window, watch TV, and listen to music. In middle school, my parents started taking my phone away for days at a time when I did something bad. Pure torture. I'd hear the phone ringing in another room and hear Mom answer it. "Hello? Yes, she's here, but she can't come to the phone," she'd say, and I swear I could hear the smugness in her voice. I wrote in my journal about hating my parents and blah blah blah OMG WTF. (Except OMG WTF didn't exist then). I was never grounded but I was forced to miss events. I don't know how many high school dances I sulked through in my room, totally emo, listening to Silverchair or whatever I listened to when I was pissy.

None of my punishments were totally unique, save for a detention I had in middle school where they made all the detainees rub the black marks left behind by sneaker soles off the hallway floors. That was at least semi-interesting, although probably illegal (I'm pretty sure teachers can't force students to do janitorial work, but there you go).

Thanks to Mama Kat for the prompt!

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  1. i use that threat on my kids all the time and it never works....mmmmm I must be doing somethign wrong

  2. Alcatraz...that's about right. I'm with you though...I'd give anything to spend an hour in my room these days.

  3. Isn't it funny how an hour was like going to jail for a year. I'm with you, I'd love someone to send me to my room for an hour.

  4. Our school used to make that a punishment too! Wiping those scuff marks off. ICK! I never got in trouble and had to do that though. I remember hearing about kids that did!

  5. Going to my room now would be heavenly!!

  6. Kisa--it put the fear of god in me, for whatever reason!

    Amber--i hated being sent to my room as a kid. now it sounds like vacation!

    Margaret--i agree 100%!

    LWK--it was slave labour!

    MamaKat--hear hear! :)