'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
GOING TO ‘CLUB MOM’ TO GET GROUNDED
What’s one of the worst things that happened to you as a kid? No, I don’t mean getting beaten up by Tommy McWilliams at the bus stop. That was my own personal 5th grade nightmare. I mean when you got in trouble at home or at school, and your parents grounded you. Oh, that was the worst.
“Your father and I are so disappointed in you!” your mother would yell. “You are grounded for a week!! As soon as you get home from school you’re going straight to your room. When you’re in there, we want you to read books! You cannot use the telephone for a week. You cannot go outside after dinner and see your friends! And you must be in bed with the lights out by 9 o’clock! That’ll teach you a lesson, young man!”
As a kid, getting grounded was devastating. I felt like I was serving a prison sentence. But now as an adult, I can only wish someone would ground me. Imagine coming home from work in the early evening and going straight to the bedroom to read some books? That would be awesome!
No telephone for a week? Pure heaven. “Honey,” my wife would call out, “it’s Dave from the church committee on the phone again.” I’d have to reply, “Sorry, dear, tell him I’m not allowed to use the phone. It will have to wait until next week.”
How about not being able to go out after dinner? How great would that be? Currently I’m involved in about a dozen different volunteer activities. (OK, maybe it’s more like three, but it seems like a dozen.) It’s not that I’m such a wonderful guy, but in the musical “Oklahoma,” I think Rogers and Hammerstein wrote a song about me: “I caint say no.”
Anyway, I average going out about four nights each week to various meetings, planning sessions, and the occasional meeting where we plan our next planning session. (Or maybe it’s a session where we meet about our next meeting. I forget.)
I could actually eat dinner at a leisurely pace, and not wolf something down, grab my coat, and race out the door? Boy, that would be nice.
Best of all, in bed by 9 o’clock with the lights out? You mean I’d get a good night’s sleep multiple days in a row? Wow, I wonder what that feels like. No foggy head all day, no baggy eyes, no staring off into space and drooling on my computer keyboard at work, no pulling into my driveway and not being able to recall a single moment of the 50-minute commute home. Man, it must be awesome. I might even feel like a human being on Friday afternoons, rather than a sleep-deprived zombie who appears to be auditioning for a part in a horror movie. In fact, I might even have enough energy to do some chores and yard work on the weekends. (Yeah, I knew there would be a downside to this.)
What I’ve just described—the joys of being grounded—almost sounds like a vacation. I’d be willing to pay good money for a week of quiet rest and recreational reading. Maybe someone will set up a chain of resort areas. Instead of “Club Med” they could call it “Club Mom.” Whenever someone is caught using a phone or sneaking out of his room after dinner, one of the staff moms (I’m thinking Bea Arthur lookalikes) would yell, “Young man! Get back to your room right now! Don’t forget, mister, you’re grounded!!”
It would be great. Just as long as Tommy McWilliams is not there.
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