I ordered my cafe mocha
grande and took my usual seat while waiting for my brother. As I
looked out at the dreary backdrop that only a wintertime Seattle
rain can provide, I contemplated our current position in life. Both
of us are immensely successful in our careers, even if we are just
a bit competitive with each other. Both of us acknowledge that our
successes were due to our upbringing. We weren't a particularly
rich family, but somehow our parents saw to it that we got a good
education and my mother in particular, took pains to make sure we
were exposed to the more cultured parts of life.
But it was more than
education and a stimulating growth environment that turned us into
the men we are today. Children so much these days have no discipline
in their lives. They grow up with a freedom unknown to the youngsters
of my generation. I remember quite vividly events of my upbringing
as if they occurred yesterday. Children nowadays would spend many
an hour in the corner with pants down, butts burning and tears streaming
down their faces if they would have tried, in our household, only
half of what they do today.
Today, such punishment
is thought archaic and perhaps even, parents fear chastisement as
child abusers if they were to consider corporal punishment for even
the most major of infractions. It is not unknown for children to
retain the services of a lawyer to sue their parents over disciplinary
actions they deemed unfair.
In my day, even the
slightest infraction was met with hairbrush or palm across raised
butt. Punishment was swift, severe, and over with soon -- no grudges,
no lingering memories, not psychological hang-up on either the part
of the parent or the child. It was merely a fact of life. It was
simply the way parents dealt with our transgressions, and we never
questioned it. And it wasn't always your own parents who were the
disciplinarians. Sometimes other relatives or even neighbors took
quite a literal hand in your upbringing.
One particular incident
sprang to mind vividly. It occurred when I was about 11 and my brother
was 9. That was the period when my mother was in the hospital and
dad was spending all of his waking hours between work and visiting
her. My bother and I spent many of our afternoons in the care of
my aunt Clara. On the particular afternoon in question, aunite also
went to visit mother and my brother and I were left in the care
of our cousins Emily and Pamela. Emily was a mere year older than
me, and Pamela was a year on the other side of my birth date.
One year might not seem
like such a difference as we reckon things today, but at the tender
age of 11, it means a lot. She was on the verge of going into middle
school, while the rest of us were grade school children. Besides,
although I was a lot smarter than her in school, Emily knew things
then about the world and how it works which I still do not understand.
My only exposure to
the fairer sex at this time was by means of surreptitious borrowings
of my father's Playboys. Unlike other boys of my age, I actually
did read the articles. However, the pictures held a natural curiosity
for a lad of my age whose hormones were developing faster than his
brain. My younger brother also became somewhat precocious on the
subject through his association with me.
On the morning in question,
I had managed to purloin my father's latest issue. Unfortunately,
my father did not leave for work until after my brother and I left
for school, and I did not get the opportunity to thief, in reverse,
the publication back into his lower drawer. I had no choice but
to stash the magazine in my attache case. I managed to avoid getting
caught with it in school by both the teachers and the bullies, but
I let down my guard much too early as I reported with kid-brother
in tow to my aunt's house for post-school activities and dinner.
Our parents, of course,
insisted that homework be done before any idle pursuits. It was
Emily's duty to see to it that us younger children discharged our
duties faithfully. Therefore, I took up my usual station at the
dining room table opposite Pamela. My younger cousin seemed to be
particularly playful that day, and more than once was admonished
by her older sister for her animated antics in the house.
"If you don't stop,"
Emily warned, "I'll have to give you a spanking."
These words played thrillingly
on my spine. The thought of my prissy, 10-year-old cousin laid across
her sister's lap in token humiliation invoked an exciting reaction
in my stomach and other parts of my anatomy. There was something
about watching someone else getting a spanking that was thrilling
and forbidden. I never actually saw someone get a spanking, but
I was ear-witness, through the bedroom door, to a number administered
to my brother by dad. How embarrassing it must be to actually have
someone else see you! Like the women in the Playboy, spankings were
something I had never seen "in the flesh."
I contrived for Pamela's
boisterousness to cause trouble with hopes that her sister would,
indeed, be forced to live up to her word and spank her. I arranged
my attache case in such a way that it obstructed the path by which
she was running. She fell into my trap nicely. As she was imitating
a cheerleader, Pamela knocked over my attache case sending the contents
flying and dispersing them across the floor with a clatter.
It was then that I observed
the weak point in my plan. Emily entered the room to investigate
the commotion only to trip over the Playboy. I had contrived in
my own downfall. The turn of events happened for the worse for me!.
The transgressions of
her sister forgotten immediately, Emily seized the magazine. "What
is this, young man," she asked. The purpose of her question was
not immediately apparent -- the magazine was clearly titled. I read
beyond the question and pondered if my rights under the 5th Amendment
applied in this instance.
"Where did you get this,"
she said continuing her interrogation.
"I ... I ... I got it
"Oh, and what did `dad'
say when he gave it to you?"
"I ... err ... didn't
exactly ... I mean, I just took it."
"You mean you STOLE
it. Don't you?"
I looked down at my
toes blushing. By this time my kid brother was drawn into the tableau,
his curiosity and baser desires piqued by my demise. Even Pamela
was giggling in surpressed mirth.
"Answer me, boy!" Emily
"Yes, ma'am" -- MA'AM!
So commanding was her voice that it seemed natural to address her
as "ma'am" -- a mere girl barely 12 months my superior.
"Do you have any idea
of what your father will do to you when he finds out?"
I had more than an idea.
If memory served me correct, and at that age, it always did, dad
could be quite stern when he had a matter of discipline to dispense.
"What have you got to
say for yourself?" My interrogatrix continued.
I had nothing to say
other than, "Dear God! Please send us an earthquake right now to
open the ground I stand on and swallow me."
was, however, not forthcoming and I stood, seemingly alone, awaiting
my consequences. I noted a sudden devious glint in my cousin's eye
and it sent shivers down my back.
"You know," she said
apparently choosing her words carefully, "There's no reason for
your father to ever find out about this."
I looked at her with
hope. Salvation was at hand.
"Your father would probably
give you a whipping ... if you're going to get one, why not get
it now and get it over with?"
My mind fathomed the
possibilities ... but who would do the spanking? As if reading my
mind Emily said, "Pamela caught you, and Pamela can punish you."
I noted that the younger girl's eyes flared as if to say, "Can I
sis? Please, I'll show you what a good job I can do spanking him."
I contemplated my predicament,
and considered that Pamela was merely a young girl who, although
in relatively good physical condition, could not hit as hard as
my father. So I opted for immediate punishment. Besides, neither
Pamela nor Emily had an economic impact on my allowance.
Emily lead Pamela and
me to the davenport in the living room. She directed Pamela to sit
and told me to prepare to receive my punishment. I assumed my position
over the girl's lap. At this very moment it occurred to me how humiliating
this was. Dad, a man, had always been the one to inflict corporal
punishment on me. Now I was about to be spanked by a girl ... not
only a girl, but a younger girl!
"How worse can it get,"
I thought. I soon found out. Emily helped her sister get me draped
over her lap and then jerked down my pants! The spanking was going
to be bare-assed. I glanced at my brother. He was watching with
a mixture of glee at seeing me humiliated, and of shock and shame
at seeing me humiliated by a girl. For all he knew, he could be
It seemed like hours
before the spanking began. I had a lot of time to think about the
predicament I was in -- half naked over a 10-year-old girl's lap.
My entire body was confused with sensations. My rear-end felt so
exposed and cold, yet the rest of me was sweating.
Emily broke the silence,
"What are you waiting for, girl? Give it to him."
SMACK! Pamela's hand
met my left cheek squarely. It was painful, to be sure, and I could
feel the heat rising to the surface even as she pulled her hand
away. But the physical pain was relatively minor. Dad could hit
much harder. Yet Pamela's smacks hurt more. They didn't hurt my
body so much as they hurt my spirit. Dad had a right to spank me.
Pamela ... well, I just didn't know,
SMACK! She landed another
spank on the opposite cheek. I looked over to Emily and noted the
self- satisfying smirk on her face. She was offering encouragement
to her sister. "That's the way, Pamela. He deserves this. He's been
naughty, and a proper punishment is in order."
Emily's words hurt more
than the spanking. She continued, this time addressing me. "You've
been a very bad boy. I don't know what you were thinking about looking
at pictures of naked women, but I am sure it wasn't nice. Well,
you know what? That girl only had to pose for the camera. Sure,
her *picture* will be seen by millions of men, but she won't. She'll
never know who has seen her and who hasn't. You have to live with
this every day from now on. Every time you come over here or every
time we go to your house, you'll remember this day."
"How prophetic," I thought.
Emily still has that little smirk around me at family gatherings.
Emily's words simulated
a cacophony of thoughts in my mind. My mind couldn't reconcile the
mixture of emotions it was experiencing. I was naked. I was naked
before my brother, a younger boy. I was naked before Emily, a girl
and I was naked before Pamela, both younger and a girl. I was also
on the end of a very humiliating exercise. Yet there was a certain
thrill in all of this.
SMACK! SMACK! SMACK!
-- countless times Pamela's hand met my buttocks. She seemed quite
pleased at her position as my disciplinarian. My audience, even
my kid brother, a member of my own sex who should have sympathized
with me better, were enjoying themselves in my misery.
My logical mind tells
me that my punishment consisted on only a dozen or so strokes and
had a duration of mere minutes. However, at the moment of accepting
these strokes I could have sworn that the number approximated a
thousand, and the duration was days. Was there to be no end to Pamela's
How could this happen
to me? Perhaps I should have accepted punishment over my father's
knee rather than at my younger cousin's knee. To be spanked by a
young girl! How could I be talked into such a thing?
Yet there was something
about the experience that was exciting. I can't think about it today
without feeling a certain thrill. It's about wishes and getting
them. Sometimes they hold surprises that are both terrifying and
exciting all at the same time.
I was so deep in my
thought, musing over my mocha, that I was only vaguely aware of
the figure standing before me. In slow recognition, I raised my
head and greeted my brother, "Niles!" "Frasier!" he responded.