Having achieved straight A’s throughout her school years, Kathleen Piedmont was more than a little upset when she read her son’s latest report card. She was angry.
“Nicholas! Could you come down here?” she yelled to her son who was upstairs playing video games. “Nicholas! I said to come down here!” she yelled a second time when he hadn’t stirred from his room.
Her ten-year-old then lumbered down the stairs, fully anticipating what his mother was about to say.
“I just read your report card,” she began. “You’re failing every subject! What do you have to say for yourself, young man?”
“Peanut butter balls,” he replied.
“Excuse me?” his mother then asked.
“Peanut butter balls,” he repeated.
“Why do you keep saying ‘Peanut butter balls’?”
“You wanted me to say something for myself and so I did: peanut butter balls.”
“That’s a pretty smartass tone for someone who’s flunking school to take with his mother. What’s come over you, son?”
“I finally started following your advice, Mom,” he said.
His mother didn’t know what to say to that, so Nicholas continued on his own without any further prompting.
“Remember a couple of months ago when you found out I was skitching with my skateboard, and you asked me why, and I told you because that’s what all my friends do, then you said ‘And I suppose you would jump off a bridge if that’s what everyone else was doing, too. You don’t have to follow the pack, Nicholas’? So I decided to do the opposite of what everyone else does. They do their homework, I don’t. They study for tests, I don’t. They say things like, ‘I’m sorry I let you down,’ when they’re in trouble with their parents, but not me. I say ‘Peanut butter balls.’ This is all on you, Mom.”
The blame for having an idiot of a son may rest solely on Kathleen, but it was her hand that was all over her son’s butt. Yes, these days everyone considers spanking to be a form of child abuse, but just like her son, Kathleen decided to do the opposite of what today’s parents do and go old school in the punishment department.
Nicholas returned to having good grades the following semester.