Punishment and Crime #1
I’ll start with a personal story. I’m reluctant to make fun of my family (and there is so much material there) or I’d tell you one about my brother. I’m fair game, however, so here goes.
I used to spend quite a bit of time visiting my grandparents in Los Angeles. They owned a house in the “Valley” which had a pool and I would go there for part of the summer to hang out, swim, and sun myself. Many of my good memories of childhood are associated with my grandparents and their home. I even lived with them for a few months when I moved to L.A. to start high school, before my mother was able to sell our house and make the move herself.
This memory is from when I was undoubtedly much younger. To preface the story, I was
always a compliant kid. I made my share of mistakes, especially fighting with my younger brother (who earned it), but I rarely broke the rules. When I had broken the rules, I generally took care not to get caught. I also prided myself on being self-reliant, so if I got into trouble, I tried to get myself out of it unobserved.
One night at my grandparents, I was up late, probably reading. This was not the problem. Chewing gum in bed was. But since it was a “victimless crime” I didn’t worry about it. Until I fell asleep and the gum fell out of my mouth. I awoke to find the gum seriously ensconced in my long hair, pretty high up, near the roots.
I took myself quietly into the bathroom, which was right next to my grandparents’ room. I hoped to find a way to get the stuff out of my hair unobserved. I guess I never heard of all the remedies for gum in hair—ice, peanut butter?—and had to be very quiet. I was also clever enough to know that I could never hide the newly cut ends if I took scissors to my hair.
What to do? Well, sad for me, the only solution seemed to be to pull out the offending hair—no cut ends, no evidence of the crime. So I did. And no one ever noticed the large bald spot. I think this was punishment enough, anyway.