Monday, September 28, 2009

Now I know . . .

We’re in the last three days of September. The last weekend was what might be best described as “very uneventful” in the Gator household. Although the weather Saturday wasn’t too bad and Gator Daughter and her Golden visited us, yesterday was not a nice day. The only good thing about it was we really needed the daylong rain we got.

Saturday GD helped her mother and me move an old stationary bike from the cellar to the first floor of the house. You may recall last week I mentioned that my heart doc wanted me to add a couple of days of riding to the two I do at senior fitness. Considering how often I used the bike when it was in the cellar (never would be a very close guess), we all agreed that if I were to take advantage of it, it would have to be on the main floor.

So I spent a few hours Friday scrubbing it clean and Saturday it made its way to a corner in our bedroom. I put it to use and did my full half hour yesterday. The first thing I discovered was this old bike isn’t the caliber of the professional modern one I use at the Saco Bay Physical Therapy center. Once I get used to it again, though, I suspect it will do just fine. At least I’m fulfilling the wish of my doc.

That was the extent of my Sunday efforts. I did watch the Patriots’ beat Atlanta and occasionally switched over to the NASCAR race at Dover and the Red Sox game.

I think that after all these years, I learned why I’m not a very smart person. My mother used to spank me when I was a little one. A University of New Hampshire professor told us on WCSH-TV Newscenter during the weekend that striking kids when they are in their formative years causes suppressed development. The report also said other experts dismissed the claim as the professor is a known anti-spanking advocate.

I’ll accept the findings of his study, though, because they would explain a lot that I’ve sometimes wondered about. I just know my IQ would have been 20, maybe 30 or even more, points higher if my mother didn’t swat my brother and me with that flyswatter.

She had a wire swatter, as did most families back then, and when Gator Brother, who passed away about 18 years ago, and I did something that she didn’t approve, she’d sit us down at the kitchen table and whack away at the back of our hands. We both noticed, however, that about the time the wire was about to strike, she sort of pulled back and the resulting hit was more symbolic than hurting.

Occasionally she didn’t get pulled back soon enough. Let me tell you, that brought forth an honest “ouch.”

My brother was considerably older than I, well only six years but back then it was “considerably.” About the time I was ten, we were sitting in our usual places at the kitchen table waiting for the swat to come. He looked at me and said, “I’ve just about had enough of this foolishness. It’s time for us to stop it.” So we got up from the table and he picked Mom up. She was a petite person, only about 5’4” or so, and not too heavy. He tossed her a couple feet across the kitchen to me.

I’m not sure which of the three of us were most surprised, but I caught her. “I don’t want her. Here, take her back,” I sort of laughed. I tossed her back to my brother. Well I’m not quite sure I’ve ever seen my mother quite that angry before. What’s that about a wet hen? GB and I were laughing for all we were worth. After a couple tosses, we did stop.

Mom glared at us, then she, too, started laughing. “I guess it’s time to put that flyswatter away,” she said. We were never threatened again.

Now, having watched that report, I know the effects of my mother’s punishment stilted my mental growth. I’d like to think she’d be sorry for that.

Hmmm. Perhaps that’s why my two children haven’t succeeded either. (My daughter is an accountant and my son is on hiatus in studying for his Ph.D. in mathematics.) I did swat them when they were growing up, but it was always in that well padded natural swatting place. They were both competitive swimmers, however, and that place sort of got very hard. By the time we stopped, it honestly hurt me more than it hurt them.


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