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  • Writer's pictureDennis McCaslin

Ten swats will get you twenty...and sometimes teach you a lesson

By Dennis McCaslin

I was thinking this morning about how times have changed in the past 50-55 years. I remember when I was in the eighth grade I was a little bit of a smart ass (imagine that). I had a male math teacher at Darby who was not only a whiny liberal (yeah...we had them even back then), but was also a total failure as an educator. This guy couldn't have taught a dog how to lick its own privates. We had a debate one day in our civics class about abortion. I was ASSIGNED the task of defending the anti-abortion stance and since it ran right along with my personal convictions on the matter, I did what I usually do in a debate. I won. And was the only person that got an "A" in the exercise, although I'm sure my civic's teacher was appalled to have to give me that grade. The bottom line? The next day in math class, Mr. Fruity Pi the math teacher took me to task for "being against a "woman's right to choose what to do with her own body". Apparently, my brilliant and fiery oratory the day before had been a topic of discussion in the teacher's lounge or something. This guy was on my ass, loudly, in front of the entire class. I would venture that my IQ then (which had been measured) was significantly higher than his anyway, but I didn't pull my Mensa card on him. I merely explained to "baldy" that 1) my discussion in Civics class had nothing to do with him trying to teach me a bunch of crap I would never use in everyday life 2) that according to other things I had learned in Civics class, the First Amendment said I had every right to be opposed to murder 3) his personal opinion mattered little to me and 4) if he wanted to engage in a debate on the subject we could do it in the "quad" area at lunch time in front of the entire student body.

His reaction? He took me into a supply closet and gave me ten swats in private. He didn't ask for administrative approval, he didn't notify my parents and it didn't turn into a "thing"...actually, I got ten extra swats when I told him after the first ten that he might have to decide whether he should have an abortion someday in the future because he hit like a little girl. (I already said I was a smart ass.) Okay...I may have also expressed surprise that he could even count to ten. My parents didn't sue or raise a stink. My dad, who was a worthless POS, did one of the few things in his life I could consider supportive when he hunted the guy down personally and told him if he ever laid a hand on me or endeavored to ridicule me in front of a class again, he would whip his ass in the "quad" at lunchtime and there would be NO debate. The only resulting outcome was I got transferred to another math class. Had that same incident happened today, I would have been arrested for being a classroom terrorist, the teacher would have been assailed online by social justice warriors and probably arrested for child abuse and the old man would have gone to jail for terroristic threatening. Oh...and I would have been labeled "misogynistic" for saying he hit like a "little girl". Maybe I should go back and sue the school system after all these years? Maybe I couldn claim he sexually molested me in that closet. Throw a #metoo up at the end of this column and get some Dead Presidents from the school district. But you know what? The incident didn't scar me for life. I ran into the teacher several years later and he apologized--not for disagreeing with me --but for "not handling" the situation properly. I told him he did me a favor. And he did. While "right or wrong" may be a relative term based on your own moral and ethical considerations and life experiences, each one of those twenty swats (which were actually a little more impressive than I would admit at the time) solidified one thing in my mind. Regardless of the punishment (real or threatened), you cannot -- and must not -- cave on your principles, your beliefs or your personal perception of "right and wrong". Every time that someone seeks to demean, ridicule, embarrass, harass and/or silence you, take the swats and move on. Then, when they are done, you can tell them to kiss your red ass. Adds a little flair to your debate conclusion.

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