A Compliment From A Soccer Mom. I Think.


At my wife’s dance recital this past weekend, a dancing mom came up to me and said something along the lines of, “You were a topic of conversation at a soccer party the other day. Were your ears burning?” They were not. What guy wouldn’t love to be the topic of conversation among soccer moms at a soccer team party? That’s the stuff of which dreams are made. However, given my lack of charm, looks, or any other appreciable physical asset or character trait, I immediately began wondering what horrific negative things these people were talking about. Much to my delight, that wasn’t the case either.

What this mom said to me was, and I am paraphrasing here, “Someone asked if anyone read Thad Hankins’ blog. It got really quiet and then one by one people sheepishly started raising their hands.”

Let me say this, I think that is great! The fact that anyone at all would take a few minutes and read something that I wrote is a miracle. But as I got to thinking about the whole sheepish hand raising part, I began to wonder what was so wrong with reading my blog? It may not be funny or interesting or thought-provoking but is it really something one should be sheepish about? I mean, at least these moms didn’t date me at some point in their lives. That would be something for them to be embarrassed about. Just ask Gigi.

My question is this: Have I now been relegated to the “guilty pleasure” category with the likes of watching Saved by the Bell, listening to Wham, and drinking Strawberry Creme Frappucinos with whipped cream on top from Starbucks when you’re a dude(I don’t do that, it’s a friend of mine)? If someone who reads my blog had to go on Maury, would they insist their voice be distorted to sound like Barry White with a frog in his throat and their face turned into a mass of pixelated squares? Gosh.

Whatever the reason for the sheepish hand-raising, I’m taking the fact that someone reads this as a compliment. Even if this one in particular came sliding in sideways like Compliments are hard to come by when you are me. Plus, there are a million other important things someone could be doing besides reading my blog. Cutting their toenails and cleaning out the freezer spring immediately to mind. I suppose it’s better to be a guilty pleasure than an innocent pain in the rear, though. Be sheepish if you must. Heck, be ashamed even. Just keep reading! And remember…Time can never mend the careless whispers…of…a…good…friend.

One Word For Passing The Buck. Pelosi.


How many of us really believe that the CIA lied to Nancy Pelosi about waterboarding? Honestly? How many of us think that she is simply covering her own rear-end? How many of us might actually have a shred of respect for her if she just said, “Yeah. I knew about it. I was okay with it then but I’m not now.”

I ask again: What ever became of personal responsibility? Come on Nancy, just own up to knowing! I still won’t agree with you on much of anything else, but at least this once I could say a politician was honest. Something we don’t see much of from Republicans or Democrats anymore.

Pursed Lips and Sideways Peace Signs


Someone explain to me why every young lady in a party-type situation who gets her picture taken does her lips like this(I’m sort of puckering them up like I’m about to kiss someone)? They also seem to always be doing some sort of sideways peace sign. Is this an attempt at looking thuggish? Just wondering. I’m 40 now and perhaps I am simply out of touch with the late teens, early twenties set.

Oh, and one more thing. For any teenage boys/young men who might read this: If I want to see men’s underwear I will look in the bathroom closet at my house. I don’t need to see yours. Pull your dang pants up! It can’t be comfortable constantly tugging at your pants to keep them from falling to your ankles and, quite frankly, you look silly.

Okay, just one more thing. Those of you with the booming, vibrating cars…I get it. I’ve been there. Used to love riding around listening to Run DMC and Whodini. Enjoy it while you still have your hearing. But PLEASE turn it down when you are at the gas station! There is no reason I should have to crank up Manilow to keep my kids from hearing some guy spout forth all kinds of vile obscenities from your car. Have a little respect for the people around you.

A Short Gracie Story From Last Evening


Those who know me, know that I am a bit of a germ hater. I keep anti-bacterial hand sanitizer with me at all times. You never know when some opportunistic bacteria might decide to take up residence on your fingers.

Anyway, last night Gracie did a big-job in the pull-up that she wears for bed. When she was done and ready for me to take care of said big-job, I set out on a quest to find baby-wipes. This task turned out to be much more difficult than I anticipated, so I offered a reward to Gabe or Gracie if they found the wipes.

After a couple of minutes, Gabe gave up. Ben-10 was on TV. One has to have their priorities in order. Gracie then walked out of the bathroom with…A WIPE! “Good job!” I said to her as she then proceeded to wipe the counter and then the toilet seat with the wipe. I quickly scanned the bathroom and was unable to see the package of wipes that she had gotten this one out of.

“Where did you get that?” I said to her as she continued to clean the bathroom. She didn’t answer and then I realized that she had found a lone wipe that had been left out and was dried up. She had apparently put it under the faucet in the sink, or lavatory as my dad would say, and wet it herself. “How enterprising!” I thought. It was at that moment that I realized that she is not tall enough to reach the faucet to turn the water on.

(Insert horror movie soundtrack here)

Terror gripped me as I asked the next question. “How did you get that wipe wet?” “In the potty” she said matter-of-factly, as if to communicate to me, “Where do you think I got it wet? Duh.” As our conversation continued she then decided, for the first time in her young life, that this would be a good time for her to clean her arms and commenced with wiping down both arms with the toilet-contaminated wipe.

As much as I wanted to act as if I had seen nothing and wait for Gigi to get back from the Winn and Dixie, I took the wipe from her hand and flushed it down the toilet from whence it came. I got the water in the sink as hot as I could without burning her and we took an emergency bath right there in the lavatory that would have made Karen Silkwood proud. Disaster averted.

I feel quite confident that I adapted quickly to this crisis situation and overcame it with calm but decisive action. I did, however, wait for Gigi to get home and allowed her to clean up the big-job. Handling such hazardous material after being exposed to toilet water was just too much for one man to handle in one day. That, and my Hazmat suit was at the cleaners.

Mr. Earnest Has An Electric Paddle!


Regardless of your stance on corporal punishment, it is difficult to argue that as corporal punishment has been pushed out of schools that violence and misbehavior of all sorts has made its way in. I understand that in a litigious society such as the one we live in now, it’s not very prudent to cause physical discomfort to a misbehaving child or teenager. With so many two-bit attorneys scanning the headlines looking for a situation where they can make a cheap buck at the expense of some municipality or large corporation that would rather settle than go through all the negative publicity of a trial, I can understand why schools are simply afraid to administer corporal punishment in most situations(that was a long sentence).

Parents are also to blame for the sad state of affairs in so many school systems in our country. Too many parents don’t teach their children about personal responsibility. They don’t teach their children that there are definite consequences for breaking the rules, regardless of how unfair they may think those rules are. “I’ll handle the punishment for my kid. That’s not the business of any teacher or principal or school.” Well handle it, then! I’m all for grounding and taking away privileges but nothing gets a kid’s attention more than a good, old-fashioned spanking. I remember feeling like I got off easy if all I came away with for a bad report card was being on “restriction” for six weeks. At least I didn’t get a whippin’!

There are lots of people, I am married to one, who were able to navigate through twelve years of school without ever having the “board of education” meet their buttocks. I was not one of them. Allow me to share some anecdotal evidence of the effectiveness of corporal punishment.

Difficult as it may be to believe, when I was a teenager, I loved to talk. Not necessarily a bad thing but not something that should be freely practiced during class. My English teacher, Mrs. Ward, had warned me on more than one occasion on this particular day that I should cease and desist from conversing with my neighbors. When the last of those warnings had been issued and I still had not stopped talking, Mrs. Ward invited me out into the hall so that we could reason together about my lack of obedience to her request. This reasoning consisted of three whacks across my bum with a long, flat, maybe inch-and-a-half thick piece of wood. Guess what? It hurt. Bad. It was supposed to. I got over it. Guess how many more warnings had to be given to me that day for talking when I shouldn’t be. Zero. If the pain of the paddling didn’t do the trick, the pain of the paddling coupled with the humiliation of having to walk back to my desk, in front of all my classmates, especially the girls, fighting back tears while trying to look cool certainly accomplished Mrs. Ward’s objective. I’m sure I talked out of turn again at some future time in her class but it no doubt took a while.

Parents, you aren’t off the hook just yet! Here is the creed that my parents lived by when I was in school. If you get in trouble at school, you are in even more trouble when you get home. This meant if there was a paddling incident involving me at school that there would be a belt incident involving me at home. Didn’t matter if the teacher didn’t like me. Didn’t matter if it wasn’t fair. What did matter is that regardless of the circumstances, I was to always respect the authority of the teacher and his/her position in relation to me, a student. She was in charge. It was a dictatorship. I was to do what I was told, when I was told to do it and I was to do so with a smile. Allow me one more narrative to illustrate my point.

In all my years of school, I had only one teacher that my parents might have been tempted to take my side on in any sort of disagreement I might have had with her. There was one kid in my class who struggled considerably with making and keeping friends(if you read about my boxing career in an earlier post, it’s the same kid). One day this kid had gotten into trouble for something and our teacher asked him to go out into the hall and wait on her. As he made his way out, he had to walk by my desk at which point I attempted to trip him. Boy, was I cool! So cool that I was asked to join him in the hall. When our teacher came into the hall, she kicked me in my ankle. Not hard enough to really hurt but hard enough to make a point. She thought that I had kicked the other student and she was showing me how it felt.

There was no paddling that day, but that night our old 1980 phone rang. I answered, this was before the days of caller ID when I might have been able to somehow avoid the call, and immediately recognized the voice of my teacher. I figured her call was related to the events earlier in the day and my blood ran cold. My father said “uh-huh” several times, thanked her for calling, and hung up. He said that it was my teacher and that she had called to apologize for kicking me. After much deliberation throughout the day, I had determined that it was not necessary for me to share this incident with my parents and figured that was the end of it.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. My father asked for details, I shared them, and he whipped me. He punished me because what I did was uncalled for and even though the teacher had called to say she was sorry for what she had done to me, I’m the one who ended up in trouble.

I’d like to say I learned my lesson on both the occasions I’ve shared here. I suppose I didn’t, at least long-term, since there were countless more paddlings during my time in school. But I never took a gun to school with the intent of hurting someone. We carried pocket knives in our pockets and my friend Ricky had enough weaponry in the trunk of his car to defeat the army of a small, third-world country. We talked too much and would occasionally have a smart comment for a teacher. But we never once considered trying to hurt or kill a fellow student or a teacher for any reason at all. Imagine that.

School was fun for me. I got in trouble for many things in the twelve years I was in school. Especially during the seven years I went to Holtville. Corporal punishment was used on a regular basis and whether you like it or not, it worked. There aren’t many people who experienced it personally more than I did. Just ask my parents. It didn’t damage me physically or emotionally. I don’t have to go to counseling because of unresolved anger. I don’t resent a single teacher I ever had for doing the right thing in paddling me nor do I know anyone who does. Many of the teachers who paddled me when I was a child are now among the people who have had the most profound, positive impact on my life. I respect them and cherish the time I got to spend with them.

Corporal punishment can be used inappropriately. It has been and will be again. But so can legal, over the counter drugs, cars, guns, and just about anything else. That doesn’t mean it’s bad or wrong. I honestly believe that if corporal punishment were administered more often by teachers and administrators and even parents, that we’d see a positive change in our schools and in society as a whole.

As always, that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong.

Waiting…

I’m sitting here at work waiting on the video guy from WCOV to get here to tape our commercial. Those of you who know me know that acting silly is not something I struggle with. In fact, it comes quite naturally. I have actually “broken it down” with some of my moves at a meet and greet after a Celtic Woman concert for two of the Celtic Woman women(as was documented in this space a few weeks ago).

There is a difference between acting crazy and weird spontaneously and doing it on command for a TV camera which is what I’m being asked to do this afternoon. I’m quite nervous about it. There are some things that seem funny in person that aren’t funny when you watch it on TV. Same principle as “you had to be there” when telling a story. Anyway, be watching for us during the American Idol finale!

Say It Ain’t So, Gambler!


Anyone seen Kenny Rogers lately? There was a scene in some movie that I think starred Jim Carrey where he taped his face into all sorts of crazy positions. Kenny looks like someone taped his eyes open but I don’t see the tape. The Gambler should have a furrowed brow and sort of weathered skin. That certainly looked better than what he looks like now. It makes my eyes water every time I look at his picture because it doesn’t seem like he is able to blink his eyes at all.

I know that vanity can make us do some pretty crazy stuff, but to see what some celebrities have done to themselves is just plain frightening. If you Google “The 15 Worst Celebrity Plastic Surgery Disasters You Will Ever See” you will see some horrific, monstrous pictures of people who at the very least used to look “normal.” Some were even very attractive.

I would write more but I have an appointment with my plastic surgeon to get botox injections in my ears. I’m tired of people making fun of how tiny they are. Darn vanity.

Can You Get Your Tongue Tattooed?


I get style. I understand trends. My goodness, I got my ear pierced in 1985 when it was just becoming okay for guys to do that. I’m out on the bleeding edge of style, man! What I don’t particularly get are some tattoos and tongue piercings.

I understand tattoos a bit more than I do piercing. There was a time, about 10 years or so ago, that, for about 7 minutes, I actually wanted a tattoo myself. I thought it would be cool to have a tattoo of Bucky Katt from the Get Fuzzy comic strip. I decided against it after a phone call to my wife when she responded by saying something along the lines of, “I’ll give you a tattoo of my fist in your neck!” Decision made.

Now, I don’t have an issue with someone who gets a tattoo on their leg or on their arm for people to see. Some of them look pretty cool, actually. I will say this, though, and no offense toward older folks with tattoos, but when I started seeing 75 year old men with NEW tattoos rather than the old bluish-green ones from 40 or 50 years ago that older folks are supposed to have, well, that sort of made them a little less cool. At least it did in my mind. Which brings up another concern. What happens when that really cool dream-catcher tat you got on your arm when you were 20 turns into something that looks like an odd colored hot-dog wiener with a feather sticking out of the top of it because of the inevitable skin sag that occurs with age? Or that Chinese symbol you got on the back of your neck? “How’d you get that big bruise on the back of your neck, Maw-maw?” “No, sweetie, that’s the Chinese symbol for Geritol.”

As I said, though, tattoos are usually okay with me. What I really don’t understand is why someone, anyone at all, would want a hole in their tongue. And how bad does that hurt? I have bitten my tongue while eating and almost passed out from the pain. I have a little bump on my tongue right now that is driving me crazy. I can’t imagine having someone take a sharp piece of metal and just jab it right through my tongue and then have a piece of jewelry in there clacking around. And why, oh, why, do those of you who have tongue rings always think I want to see it? So many of you are always sticking your tongue in and out and clickety-clacking that little ball around. Seems to me that food and other undesirable things could easily get stuck in there and cause all sorts of problems. Infection, inflammation, stinky breath! Who knows what else?!? Does it ever grow up the way ear piercings do or do you just have a hole in your tongue for the rest of your life? Belly button piercings I’m okay with. Even noses to some degree though it is a bit gross to think about. But a tongue…NO WAY!

Maybe I’m just not cool anymore. But to say that would be to assume that I once was cool. That’s not very likely so I guess I’m just an uptight old dude who just doesn’t get it. Maybe someone can fill me in on the allure of the tongue thing.

Crawdads!?!


People eat those?

Gigi and I are going to a good, ol’ fashioned crawfish boil tonight. Is it suck the head and eat the tail or vice versa? Not a huge fan of the old mud-bug. I am a fan of the potatoes and corn and other fixins. Food that looks back at me is troubling. Wish me luck!

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