27 May 2008
Whenever you peel an orange in one piece, it’s tempting to do hilarious impersonations with the rind. There are two types of people in this world and two types of impersonations you can do with a one-piece orange peel – the impersonation you do indicates the kind of person you are. Some might argue (stupidly) there is actually another type of person – one who does both. This is untrue. People like that are simply one of the other two types trying to cover their indecisive arses.
For those of you lacking sufficient digital dexterity to peel an orange in one piece, pay attention. Peel a strip around the middle, leaving a little bit before the end, then lift the two dome-shaped halves off. The peel should end up looking like an elephant’s face or a man’s genitals. Granted, neither of these looks particularly convincing given that both are orange, the elephant is too small, and the genitals are too big.
Only two types? “What a generalisation,” you say in your annoying whiney voice. To which I reply, “Duh,” and smack you. I love to generalise, I do it all the time. I also love to smack annoying whiney people.
But I don’t smack my kids. I used to, but then a couple of things happened: I realised it wasn’t very effective, and I saw a documentary from Sweden where it’s now illegal to smack kids. I thought about the messages smacking sends to kids – violence is acceptable if your motives are justifiable; reason and logic are inferior to muscle and aggression, it’s easier to hit someone than relate to them – and it frightened me that I was buying in to all of that. And why? Because that’s how I was raised. My parents did it, so it must be a valid parenting technique, right?
But more than anything else, I struggled to reconcile my fiercely protective love of my kids with my conditioning to physically assault them for doing something “bad”. This was supposed to teach them how to be “good”, when all it did was make them angry and afraid of me.
Just as there are two types of orange-peel-impersonator-people, there are two types of smacking people: anti- and pro-. I’m not attempting to advocate smacking or non-smacking as a parenting tool, just voicing an opinion. Raising children is enough of a mine field without nosy busy-bodies trying to herd you on to their side of the barbed wire. Some people swear by smacking as a disciplinary measure, others as a last resort. Others will tell you there are more effective ways of disciplining children. It’s all about choice, and the non-smacking option was mine. I’m not inviting opinions or taking a poll – this is my hobby horse and I don’t want passengers.
For me, it’s a question of positive vs. negative reinforcement, and I’m happy with the choice I’ve made. In the end it won’t mean squat anyway. Regardless of my efforts they’ll still grow up to be surly teenagers who dress badly and hate my guts....
PS. I’m a genitals type of person.