Did I ever tell you about the time I let my sister take a spanking for me? No? Well, maybe that’s because I never “let” her take one for me. More like I made her.
And all because of a goldfish.
Let’s back it up a bit and give you some more information. You see, when I was younger I went to a small, private school for a few years before transferring to public. This private school held a country fair night every single year. Hayrides, carnival games, you name it – all in the school gymnasium. One of the “big” prizes was winning a plastic baggy full of water with a goldfish swimming inside. I really wanted one of those fish and used many a ticket to win one.
Once I had my little fishy, I cradled that bag and took him home with me. He went into a bowl and sat on the kitchen counter-top, but I wasn’t quite tall enough to see him without having someone hand me the bowl. My mom wasn’t always around, so I did what any kid would do – I decided to reach for it myself.
Side Note – My mom had warned me several times not to pull that fish bowl down from the counter-top!
The inevitable happened. I pulled down the fishbowl and it, the water, and the fishy went everywhere. My mom came back into the kitchen, surveyed the scene, and that’s when I did it – in a moment of total rottenness, I pointed the finger at my little sister. She was too little to explain, and she was a ready scapegoat. I figured she’d get put in time out or get a scolding, but no – she got a spanking.
Odds are, she doesn’t even remember this. But I remember it, and it tormented me for a long, long time. It was years later before I finally worked up the courage to confess. I was 16 years old, driving the car over the Martin Luther King, Jr. overpass in my hometown, and my mom was in the passenger’s seat. I figured then was a good time to tell her because if she killed me or tried to strangle me, we’d both go over the edge. I knew she had too much to live for, and so I spilled the beans.
She just laughed. I couldn’t believe it – I’d been agonizing with this off and on for years, convinced that whatever punishment was meted out would be horrible, and there she was laughing at me. Harumph.
She told me that she figured I’d punished myself enough, and she was right. Here I am, 30 years old, and I still feel bad about it.
So, Valerie, in case I haven’t told you this story, now you know. And if you want to throttle me, all you have to do is catch a plane from Indiana to Auckland