When I was a kid, there was a family in the neighborhood. I’ll call them the Punchers, because that was something they really enjoyed. (Besides, they might hunt me down and beat me if I identify them.)
The Punchers are directly responsible for much of my parental anxiety.
They had a kid my age – a girl, even! She just loved to hit, but she did not love reciprocity. I preferred to play with the neighborhood boys even though they weren’t my age. It was safer.
Of course, sometimes I had to play with her. Her mom would come over and threaten to punch my mom if I didn’t.
The Puncher kids went to public school, which colored my view of public school kids and public school in general.
One day, I was having dinner at the Punchers, and Mrs. Puncher asked me about parochial school.*
The brother (who was about 4 years older) interrupted my answer to ask why he didn’t go to parochial school.
“You think we’d pay for your education?” she laughed, “That would be a waste of money!”
The Punchers all thought this was hilarious, and their son didn’t seem the least bit hurt.
Anyway, I thought about them recently when I heard my kids were playing musical chairs in school. I have only one experience with musical chairs, and it’s from Puncher girl’s birthday party. When the music stopped, she punched the crap out of me until I gave up my chair.
Thank goodness, those aren’t the rules of the game, even in public school. Still, my kids are lukewarm to the Darwinian nature of musical chairs.
In our school, it’s more like,
“Here’s a chair, old chum. Trust me, you need it more than I do.”
“Ha, ha! No, thank you, I insist! I prefer to watch those other poor souls duke it out for dwindling resources.”
“Right-o! That’s what passes for entertainment nowadays…”
Monocles and spatter-dashes are big at my kids’ school.
And punching is so-o-o last year.
*Parochial school in the eighties had a whole ‘nother set of problems.