Now I know why the experts are so divided on spanking.
After two weeks of nearly-daily bamboo stick beatings, the yellow angelfish and the tomato clownfish in the Smith aquarium still weren't getting along late last week. We even tried putting both fish in time-out by holding them away from all the other fish in a net. Surely that traumatic experience would calm their firey tempers.
Not so much.
By Saturday, they had turned their aggression toward the other fish in the tank and left my littlest Nemo battered, beaten and eventually, belly up.
So, exhibiting our stellar parenting skills, we gave them both up for adoption. My mom now has full custody of the yellow guy (who was actually pretty calm before we introduced the tomato fish). And the tomato clown - or evil incarnate with fins, as my wife called him - is back at the fish store in Augusta.
And, looking forward, we're hoping we learned a parenting lesson from our finned children. We know spanking doesn't always work, but we also understand that we certainly can't just ignore boorish, bad behavior. Eventually that proverbial bad apple - or in this case, bad tomato - would have brutalized the entire undersea community.
We've since re-stocked the habitat and everyone seems to be getting along now. But, just in case, there's still a bamboo skewer sitting nearby, and my wife has an ever-present hankering for some spankering (with apologies to Homer Simpson).
Several folks have asked where my off-kilter view of the world comes from. I usually answer with a question: "Do you know my dad?"
And there's no way to better illustrate his therapy-inducing affect on me than to look at his choice in movies. My father absolutely loves bad horror movies. Not B-horror movies. Not C-horror movies. Z-horror movies maybe? Movies like Hillbillies in a Haunted House are right up his alley.
Pete has discovered the joys of Netflix, which only helps to feed his strange tastes. Just this week for example, he screened Luther the Geek, and recommended I do the same.
So I did.
And I'd try to explain it to you, but nothing does it justice like this part of the Netflix description: "The Freak ... stalks his victims with sharp, metallic dentures and clucks like a rooster." Think that sounds like a bad movie. Trust me, it's 1,000 times worse.
But the best part of his horrid movie fascination is my mother's reaction. She tries to be a trooper - like the night she, Miriam and I watched The Lost Skeleton of Cadavr, which was so campy and dry, Pete even gave up on it.
Yet every time they watch one of Pete's choices, she has the same reaction: "That's the worst one yet.
"Yes, I know I said that last time, but this one was really bad."
And Pete just smiles, like a man with a clucking, metal-toothed freak in his future.