I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Grimmer fairy tale


To avoid offending the sensitivities of Tone Deaf readers the male buttocks is rendered geometrically (a hemisphere, two cones) - left: rear elevation; right: side elevation. G represents "the groove."

Examine the structure of a male buttocks. In simple geometry it consists of a hemisphere (vertically divided) from which protrude two cones - thighs - tapering downwards. The point at which the hemisphere joins the cones is sufficiently defined to create a groove.

The official caner at my school knew that groove. Practice taught him to ensure that each cane stroke entered the groove, exactly overlaying the previous stroke. Ensuring cumulative pain.

Breaking off, US commenters to Tone Deaf talk of being "paddled" at school. Had they been caned by my tormenter I suspect they would have chosen a different word to describe the sensation. Paddled sounds too gentle.

I have in mind a short story where a fearful child kneels in the prescribed fashion to best present his "groove". After two cane strokes the lad bursts into tears through apprehension and pain. He is, by the standards of the time, a weed, a non-achiever, "not a man". But he isn't lacking in imagination. Punishment is an abstract noun but what is happening is far from abstract. Authority, another abstraction, is punishing him but again he sees it more simply: an adult is hurting a child.

At home he takes the family shot-gun and blows his father's head off. Returning the gun he reflects on another abstract noun: justice. His father is (or was) an adult and in his young world adults wield authority. When authority hurts a child the outcome is clearly unjust. Justice is also a balance and the shotgun has achieved balance.

The court concludes the child lacks a grip on reality and places him in an institution. Where he reflects on another abstraction: irony.

Not for Christmas.

6 comments:

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

I looked at the illustration and instantly assumed this was a post about teeth, the non-offending (who would have been offended?) buttocks diagram closely approximating dental representations, roots and all. I apologise in advance for my too-fast interpretation and restrospectively sympathise with your caned and traumatised child-self. I will never understand the blind acceptance of this cruel system by parents as well as educational authorities. Why hasn't there ever been a boarding school revolution led by caned boys? The film "If.." suggested it.

Rouchswalwe said...

There's been something in the news here about a football player for the Minnesota Vikings who "switched" his child. A switch sounds quite severe to me; however, the player in question was recently reinstated. He is once again allowed to play football, a violent sport if you ask me. I don't know the details. I only count myself lucky that my German mother did not believe in meting out corporal punishment to her children, having suffered from face-slapping as a girl. They wanted to "paddle" me several times in my American schools, but my mother intervened each time.

Ellena said...

My mother's riding crop hangs on one of the hooks of my key hanger.
Last time my brother visited, I suggested he should have it because........He gave me a dirty look as answer.

mike M said...

An interesting and stark allegory of "war on terror".

Roderick Robinson said...

Natalie: Guilty as charged. Of prissiness, that is. In moving to Hereford I had to purge myself of most of my Bohemian tendencies and to accept the middle-class yoke. Happily I Iive vicariously via those who continue to enjoy the south-east's intellectual freedom and I look forward to posts from you that are progressively more and more anatomically explicit.

I had hoped geometry was something of a neat conceit, but alas it has gone for nothing.

However I would have thought that instead of, in effect, pooh-poohing my shaky graphics you might have seized on the essential defect in my prose. Since the post is only incidentally about flogging, and mainly about the eternal conflict between the murky linguistics of adulthood vs. the reality of childhood, you might have asked the $64,000 question: how did I intend to expand the outline to short-story length? WITHOUT PADDING. As it stands the argument is complete; to tinker would be to vitiate. No matter. It stays as it is.

RW (zS): It's cold up there in Minn. and this doesn't encourage introspection. There are still plenty of regions in the world which uphold the idea that children can be flogged into obedience (as opposed to terrified subservience) and/or - even more outrageously - expanding their intelligence. It is claimed that their number is shrinking and certainly there are now laws which discourage this. Even so the combined NFL/AFL ethos doesn't exactly give grounds for hope.

Ellena: The crop could remain as a neutral reminder. That the true evil is not the thing itself but the willingness to use it. A bit like the NRA rationale: guns don't kill people, etc, etc.

MikeM: Not bad. The construct "war on terror" is essentially based on an adult view of things - always assuming that GWB Jnr can be regarded as adult.

mike M said...

Hmm...serial bullying leads to a grotesque strike against a perceived "head", killing those who are (but perhaps should not be) oblivious to the bullying. "Adult" world redoubles efforts to control and, if need be, eradicate the "problem". I'll grant that Obie is more articulate, probably more reluctant than GW. More like "peace with honor" Nixon.