Spoofs & Satire

Photograph by Phil Dragash

This Is Going to Hurt Me More Than It Hurts You

For the good of their children, parents must be able to properly—sometimes even excruciatingly—discipline them when necessary.

Son, you’ve done wrong. I would’ve figured you were past the age of outsourcing chores to your little sister without equitable compensation, but I guess your old man just doesn’t know you like he thought he did. Though I’ll always love you, there are times I won’t be proud. This is one of those times.

And it is because I love you that I sometimes have to punish you. And for as much discomfort as you will experience, the anguish a father feels when he disciplines his child is nearly unendurable, like a woodpecker hollowing out his heart and filling it with hot grease. Believe me when I say this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you.

I will start by taking five bumblebees I captured earlier and releasing them in my mouth, pursing my lips until the bees sting themselves into permanent unconsciousness. Knowing I have a severe—though not fatal—allergy to bee stings, you can expect my facial features to swell beyond recognition. At this point I will sit you on my lap and read to you from Dr. Seuss’s Fox in Socks, purposely slurring my speech in a frightening manner. Do you remember when Pop-Pop had his stroke? If not, the memory likely will make a vivid comeback.

I want to be your friend, but I also need to be your parent. After story time I will take you to the backyard, where I caught your five-year-old sister trying to operate the riding mower per your instruction earlier today. You may or may not have noticed these two strange lumps beneath my T-shirt, which are in fact nipple rings from a special trip I took to the tattoo parlor while you were having lunch. I am going to chain each of my nipples to the back of the mower, and you’re going to finish mowing the entire lawn as I wail agonizingly in your wake. You’ll still earn your star on the chore chart, but I’d like for you to think of it as more of an asterisk representing a task accomplished without merit. An asterisk you’ll undoubtedly be haunted by every time you see my scarred chest—in the pool during our Orlando trip in the spring, on weekend mornings when my bathrobe hangs loosely. I suspect your own nipples will tingle every time you smell a freshly cut lawn. Please just remember I’m doing all this because I love you.

Lastly, son, for your punishment you will play a simple game of “pin the tail on the donkey,” except the role of the donkey will be performed by me, and you will use an M26 Taser as the pin. Playing under modified rules, you will not be allowed to remove the blindfold until you have accurately pinned the “tail” in its natural, anatomical position. Of course, this will be difficult due to the involuntary convulsions continually altering my body position, and I can’t imagine the burnt-toast-like odor or my hysterical bleating will be much service to steadying your hands. But you’re my son, and I have faith that you’ll succeed if you put your mind to it.

Maybe afterwards we can go out for a game of catch, or perhaps get some ice cream. I want to be your friend, but I also need to be your parent. One day, when you have little troublemakers of your own, you’ll understand why I have to do these things. But until then you’ll just have to trust me. Now hand Daddy that jar with the bees in it.