Do you want a happy birthday?
Today I confirmed that I have developed the highly useful "Look of Discipline" (LOD). You know that look right? It's the look that your parents gave you when you were acting up and once you saw it you knew you were toast. I gave this look to my seven year old today at church and he knew I was not messing around. When I turned back I had to hold back from laughing because it made me think of all the times I saw that look from my parents. It was mostly my father who gave the look but when it came from my mom I knew I was dead. For anyone who knows my mom you know how sweet and nice she is but if you cross her she will let you know where to put it. I had to have been about 13 or 14 when I first witnessed the wrath of my mother and her version of the LOD. She had been giving me face for something I had done and I wasn't having it. I didn't want to hear what she had to say and when she turned around I flipped her off. Now I know this sounds really bad and it is but I made a huge mistake. For those who have never seen the inside of my old house in Fennville, it had a large window in the living room and when this occurred it was at night and the lights were on. Can you guess what happened next? I can see myself in slow motion flipping my mom the bird and hearing a loud screech of, "What did you just do!?"
It was the perfect example for a parents having eyes behind their head. She was still facing the window and I focused in on my reflection with my finger still up and a version of LOD that brought my heart up into my throat and a pucker that only a laxative could cure. I put my hand down and tried to cover it up.
"I..I...didn't do anything mom!" I was so frightened and I could smell the early stages of death.
"Don't you lie to me! I saw your reflection in the window."
My mom walked up to me and slapped me back to birth! I kept apologizing to her but there was nothing that could take away the LOD from hell.
"Just wait until your dad gets home!"
Now what she said was, "Just wait until your dad gets home" but what I heard was "Chopper sick balls". Yeah that's not what I heard but I couldn't help saying it and I don't think she ever told him because he never said anything to me but man did I screw up.
The times that it happened with my dad was more or less when we were in public and if we didn't listen to him we heard something that still sends chills up my spine. This phrase was uttered many times and it goes something like this, "Do you want a happy birthday?" Now when we heard this my siblings and I knew that we were screwed. One time in particular that I remember was hearing this at a restaurant which is obviously in public. This phrase was to disguise the fact that I or my siblings were going to get our asses handed to us.
"Hi, may I take your order", asked the waitress.
I had been provoking my siblings as usual and with the waitress standing in front of my family my father let out the dreaded happy birthday phrase. It was just enough to hear him say that but with his LOD it made it worse and we immediately stopped what we were doing. The unsuspecting and naive waitress could only respond with,
"Oh! Is it your birthday?"
I turned and nodded my head but it really wasn't my birthday and all I could think was, "No lady! I'm about to have my ass handed to me!" I didn't feel the wrath of my father but it set me straight for the day. It's funny how parents mask discipline with a funny phrase but others lay it all out and it works. I can remember a time when my wife and I were passing by the toy section in Wal-Mart and we heard a lady struggling with her child and to get her son to realize she was no longer playing she yelled out,
"Son if you don't get over here I will smack the black off you!"
It was hilarious and it was just what the doctor ordered. That little boy jumped right up and went with his mom. We heard a variation of this in a similar place but the mom in this one yelled out,
"If you don't get up off that floor I will smack you in front of God and everybody in this store."
It was simply an empty threat but it got the kids attention. These are only a few that I can recall right now but if I can remember some more I will definitely post it. If you can recall any times you witnessed the LOD from your parents please comment and share your story. Also, if you are walking in the mall, eating in a restaurant or just out in public and you hear, "Do you want a happy birthday?" then you know some sweet, bratty child is about to get their ass handed to them.