|by PJ Franklin|
Copyright on this story text belongs at all times to the original author only, whether stated explicitly in the text or not. The original date of posting to the MMSA was: 11 Apr 2011
Dad was gone for two weeks on a sales convention and at the age of sixteen, I was trusted to do a lot on my own including something every sixteen-year-old yearns for and that was driving the family car. When I got permission from Dad to get my license, he admonished me in no uncertain terms that any kind of driving violation that resulted in a citation within the first year would ground me from driving the car a minimum of four weeks, possibly more. Believe me, no sixteen-year-old wants to be stripped of that privilege.
So, when I saw the state police cruiser with lights flashing red and blue in my rear-view mirror and an instant later surmised that I had just been nabbed not wearing my seat-belt, my stomach knotted up nearly to nausea. It was a small mercy that the officer couldn't have been nicer and in fact was very empathetic, but had to cite me.
He told me since it was my first offence that if I took the citation to city hall, paid the fifty dollar fine and then attended a two hour driving lecture within six months, my record would be washed of the violation. In other words, nobody would ever know!
The fifty dollars was easy. I had that in a heartbeat. The next drivers' school was merely one week ahead. In other words, I could take care of this bone-headed mistake without Dad knowing and before he got home even!
So, I did it. I paid the fine and took the two hour class and five days before Dad was home, I was good as gold ... only ... I wasn't. For the next three days after Dad returned, I had guilt on my mind every waking moment and even some really weird dreams about it as well.
I could not forget the moment that I got that damn license. Dad had taken me down to the DMV, a father and son moment. He told me how very proud he was of me to have aced both the written and road driving tests. The man who had tested my real-time driving skills even told my Dad how he thought I was head and shoulders above most teens. It felt great then, but now it made me feel like a total and complete loser.
I hadn't realized how important a Dad's pride in his son meant to the son, me. That night, fed up with my chicken shit exercise in self-defeating behaviors, I did something I never thought I could do.
I took a shower, only put back on a pair of white briefs, packaged my driver's license, a copy of the original citation and something I dreaded more than anything else, Dad's big spanking paddle and took them all down the hall to Dad's home office, a small room he used for work but also, when there had been past occasion, where he administered corporal punishment to me, his errant son.
He looked up, “Aaron?”
I walked over to the side of his desk, cleared the top of his desk-top as he looked on with a mix of confusion and concern and then I laid my license and the citation in front of him and handed him the paddle,
“Dad, I screwed up and broke the law. Not only that I tried to cover it up. I wasn't going to tell you. I didn't have to. You wouldn't have been able to find out, but I couldn't go through with it. I feel like shit. I feel like I let you down. I feel especially that I let myself down. Please, would you give me a really hard paddling? ... After that, if you ground me like you said you would, that would be OK as well.”
My chin was quivering at the last but I had never felt better and more proud of my own effort despite the sure pain to come. Dad sighed, sat back and ran his hand over the paddle's smooth somewhat worn surface, pushed back his chair forming a very familiar lap, looked up at me and said,
“Aaron, sometimes pride takes a great deal of effort. Plant your butt over my knee son. We'll take care of the easy part first and then talk about the rest afterwards.”
I didn't have to be asked, I didn't have to be lectured on the purpose of seat-belts. Dad knew that I already knew. Down came my briefs and over his lap I flopped.
I planted my palms squarely on the floor below my head and then closed my eyes. Dad then let that old paddle go to work to set me right and boy, did it ever! Twenty swats with that old wooden implement of teen instruction doesn't seem like a lot, but a puddle of tears had gathered on the floor below my head by the end and I was kicking, writhing and groaning as my mind felt the frustration of having ignored such a simple, easy task as buckling a stupid seat-belt.
When it was over, he helped me up, stood up himself and hugged me closely,
“I want you to decide if you are going to get grounded Aaron. Any boy who allows guilt to guide him on the right path and has the nerve to come to his old man to ask for punishment deserves some trust. So, if you were me, would you ground you?”
I sighed, “Yes, a month” I said very quickly to seal the deal and prevent any more chances that my Dad could ever not be proud of his son.
“A month it is Aaron ... and despite what you did, I am still very proud of you.”
I served my month sentence. It was tough, but I learned and believe me, I never tested Dad's pride in me or in myself ever again.
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