Wednesday, February 02, 2005

General Major Corporal Punishment

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Watching what used to be my school bus many years ago pass by my window and hearing the young voices inside precipitated me into the mists of fond reminisces of days gone by. Truly, as Bernard Shaw said, youth is wasted on the young.

Being beaten by a teacher was a very complicated affair for a number of reasons
  • After tasting 10 of the juiciest ones you were expected to thank the gentleman for his efforts. Never mind that your backside feels like a volcano has just erupted on it. The last thing you wanted to do to the sadistic bastard was thank him for trying to split your skin. The things you wanted to say to him were not likely to be the printable kind. But thank him you did. And if you failed to do this with effusive gratitude and conviction your ass was grass because you'd be caned again for ingratitude.
  • While being beaten, you were expected to touch your toes and remain as still as Lot's wife as mahogany cracked into your young bottom. Naturally, this was impossible, because immediately that cane touched your behind no power on earth could keep you from jerking upright and grabbing your bottom with both hands, doing your best to rip out said bottom.
  • A teacher whose name is lost in the mists of time had a novel way of punishment. Armed with the knowledge of this reflex, he'd ask you to bend over with your head just under the desk. With the first stroke you would of course rise but with the desk in place you'd knock your head against the sturdy desk and your head would bounce back down. After ten of the finest you would emerge with your hands trying to decide which to hold the stinging bottom and which the stinging head
  • I remember a boy of mine, Tito we'll call him, who objected to being caned on one occasion, and in a fit of genius stuffed an exercise book down the back of his shorts. When show time came Tito bent over duly and without further ado the cane rose in the air and came down with a whoosh. I can't quite describe the sound that resulted but it was very close to a sonic boom, and those of us who were not paying attention dived to the floor, thinking a bomb had gone off. Tito was speedily relieved of his book and justice was dispensed
  • Then there was the time a smart alec stuffed his shorts with the sponge whose duties were dusting the board. Again he bent over and the cane rose and descended with sudden and sickening violence. The teacher administering this used to literally put his back into it. The cane landed on the back of the shorts with a muffled whumph! and the air was filled with an explosion of chalk dust
  • 'Cruel and unusual punishment' is a term I learned when our GHC teacher arrived one day to impart knowledge into unwilling minds armed with his books, notes and his Mini's fan belt draped casually over his his right shoulder. The dubious distinction of being the pioneer with the fanbelt fell upon me for sneezing too loudly. It was the beginning of the firm grasp I had in physics in my secondary years because I discovered that unlike a traditional cane which only made contact with part of its length (due to it's being straight) a fan belt is an altogether different beast. It's flexibility allows it to curve 100% around your bottom and deliver 100% of its payload accurately into your backside. It also had these little ridges that made sure that the force was dissipated completely to young backsides, leaving a perfect unbroken line of agony clear across your backside. After the first stroke the pleading I made left few observers in doubt that I could have talked Pharaoh out of freeing the Egyptians and hooking them up with chariots and money.
  • It was once, and only once when I tried to be a man and take it without flinching. The teacher grunted, huffed and puffed and ten strokes later lowered his cane and looked at me, sweating with the effort. The blank look on my face seemed to stir him to rage. "Ooooooh! Clearly that was not enough, eh?" I tried to quickly burst into howls of agony (which wasn't too hard) but it was too late. The bull had seen it's red cloak. I took an extra 15 (with suitable sound effects) for my bravado
  • Am also reminded of a cat we'll name Ben who objected one day to receiving the attentions of the fan belt. Used to this objections the GHC teacher smiled tolerantly and reached out for the back of Ben's shorts. In a show of spirit Ben dodged and attempted to dive under a desk. In his panic Ben failed to notice that on the other side of the desk was produce of East African Portland Cement that had been cured and matured years ago. Ben's head collided with the wall with the sound of thunder, displacing the classroom foundation by some five inches.

  • One quickly learned that tribulations suffered in school were best kept at school. Expecting the sympathy of a loving mother and an outraged father due to the injury done to their offspring was something we quickly learnt not to expect. Should the Mater and the Pater learn that you were beaten at school a chain of events wold transpire
    1) Information as to why you were beaten would be extracted from you
    2) You would be beaten because you were beaten at school
    3) You would be beaten for whatever it is you did wrong
    4) You would be beaten for dishonouring the family name
    5) On some occasions, you would be beaten because of wasting your father's time
    6) You thanked your father for all the beatings

    Mory Kante - Yeke Yeke