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We All Got That Butt Cut
9/24/2014 4:44:00 PM

By Barney Blakeney

I was really surprised to get the call from Santel. We’ve been friends a long time, but we don’t chatter on the phone a lot. I’ve used his comments for stories in the past so I guess he felt comfortable calling in the marker. That’s cool, that’s what I’m here for.

Santel started off saying he didn’t want to add to the madness that has become the National Football League’s response to domestic violence, but he felt compelled to address the league’s punitive reaction to charges Minnesota Vikings’ star Adrian Peterson physically abused his son. Peterson is accused of whipping his son with a switch from a tree. Santel said punishing Peterson is going too far.

I have hesitated to weigh in on the NFL domestic violence hoopla also. First of all, I think the NFL is full of crap. All of a sudden beatin’ up on your girlfriend or wife is unacceptable? Those guys have been beatin’ up on their women a long time. Can anyone say Jim Brown? But beatin’ up on women has never been acceptable. Guys are taught that from childhood on. What bothers me is the NFL’s disingenuous politically correct responses.

In its deceptive focus on domestic violence Santel and many others, myself included, think the NFL has failed to make the distinction between child corporal punishment and domestic abuse. So yesterday, me, Santel, Brown and a few of the fellas sat down under the tree and waded into the subject.

Santel first outlined the difference between a tree branch and a switch. I don’t know how the words ‘tree branch’ came to used to describe Peterson’s tool, but Santel said most reasonable thinking people realize it was a switch which we all know is just a small branch from a tree or bush striped of its leaves.

I think most folks know about the switch. Many of us have had to go cut one from a bush. Irene once made me go get one. The rest of the time she used whatever was handy.

Personally, I believe going to get the switch is a kid’s right of passage. I didn’t like the whuppin’, but I’ll always treasure the memory of the process.

Peterson is being charged because his kid got welts as a result of the whipping. I told the fellas although I got a butt-whuppin’ almost every day while growing up (and I mean that literally), I never remember getting welts.

Santel asked me if I’d ever gotten a whuppin’ with an electrical extension cord, and of course my response was yes. “Well, you had welts. An extension cord is an automatic welt,” he reminded. I still don’t remember the welts, but it stands to reason I’ve gotten some in my time because my old man used to cut my behind! And I remember that extension cord.

And yes, my mom used to cut that butt too. In my house there was no such thing as ‘wait til your daddy gets home’. My mama would cut that butt, and if daddy got in the way, he’d get some too. Even as an old lady my mom would threaten me with butt-cuttin’.

Santel went into Scripture justifying butt-cuttin’.

I don’t know about scripture, but we all agreed that butt-cuttin’ sometimes was the only thing that made the difference in whether we would be successful as adults.

He told about the neighborhood auto dealership from which he and several friends nightly stole cars. His friends would steal the cars, joyride and bring them back. He never got in a car because he knew his old man would cut his behind if he had.

Brown, who is a good storyteller, gave two accounts. The first was the time his mother came home from her night shift job as a nurse. They lived with his grandparents and his mom asked her mother why he still was at home.

“That boy got he ting,” replied Miss Lucille who was from Jacksonboro. “He wouldn’t go to school.” His mom asked what she meant by ‘he wouldn’t go’. Brown had no choice in the matter was her position.

His mom put her handbag down and grabbed him by the wrist. Brown said his mom started slapping him as soon as they walked out of their gate and didn’t stop until she got to the gate at the school. Brown said his mom pushed him through the gate and handed a teacher standing there his lunch.

“She was mad because she used to pay Mr. Brewer to take me to school and she had to come home and walk me there,” Brown explained.

He gave us another story about corporal punishment that didn’t include corporal punishment. I think we all also can relate to that one time when you should have gotten your behind cut and didn’t.

When we were seniors in high school our crew decided we’d drive up to Atlantic Beach for an overnight trip. We didn’t get the idea until late in the night. Me, Pat and Lonnie got our parents’ permission.

But Brown’s grandfather was going for it. Brown came anyway despite his grandfather telling him if he walked out to never return. When he got in the next day, his grandfather told him his grandmother had kept him up all night worrying. He just asked Toot to call if he wasn’t coming home again.

There’s a line between punishment and abuse. I don’t think we should draw that line around a man trying his best to discipline and raise his kid the right way.

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