“LOOK dammit!” Bop on the back of the head. Lost in the clouds? Daydreaming? Or? Myopic!!!! So, I got glasses. First kid in my kindeegarden class. Wayne Helander got his soon after.

“Mom there’s leaves on the trees!” Car ride home from the optician.


“Look, dammit! You’re not going to see this again in your life!” Bop! “That’s a GD steam engine. LOOK!”

“Look at the aspen! You’re not looking. Get your head out of that GD comic book and LOOK!”

“I didn’t bring you all the way to Yellowstone Park for you to sit sulking in the back seat. Look at the GD hot springs, for Crissakes!” Hand goes for the cane that rests between him and mom so he can wave it over the backseat maybe connecting with one kid or the other. My brother and I laugh, but we LOOK.

So the debate; should parents hit kids?

As you see, my parents hit me and my brother. Not often and not hard, but they did hit us. Well my mom hit me hard, but this isn’t about her and not about those moments. This is about “LOOK, dammit!” Bop!


I’m walking up a hill on a narrow trail with my niece who’s letting me know in no uncertain terms that she is miserable beyond human expression. She’s looking at her feet, her constant view a pair of red Converse All-stars. “I hate this,” she finally says.

We get to the top of the little mountain where we can see the ocean and the whole city of San Diego. She’s looking at her shoes, still.

“Look!” I say pointing to hundreds of seagulls swirling up from the valley floor, getting lift and momentum for a trip to the sea.

“There’s nothing to look at,” she says, her voice resounding with an 11 year old’s pout.

“That’s because you’re not looking! LOOK!”

“At what?”

“Lift your damned head and LOOK!” I point out over the valley toward the ocean.

“Oooooh!” she says. “That’s beautiful!”

“You gotta’ look around. If you don’t look around you miss your LIFE!”


Suddenly all those bops on the back of my head made total sense to me.

9 thoughts on “Bop!

  1. That’s the “Gibbs” head slap. Mark Harmon’s character on NCIS is famous for that pop on the back of the head.

    I always had my head in a book so my mother was always pulling the book out of my hands and telling me to go out and notice that there’s a world. I really preferred books … but these days, I realize she had a point. I just wasn’t ready to notice. I think I started connecting with “looking” and “seeing” when I discovered photography.

    • I’m really grateful to my parents for those bops on the back of the head. And, my dad taught me to use a camera and that was an amazing thing for framing both a scene and a moment, even without taking a picture. 🙂

  2. I smacked my kids. Not hard or often, but sometimes a quick thwack on the padded backside got the point across with an expedient precision that all the calm reason in the world is never going to achieve – even if the child has a clue what you’re on about.
    And people who beat their kids? All the laws in the world won’t stop them if they’re so inclined.

    • Sometimes a kid needs a lesson and is too young for words, let alone reason. When my mom slapped me (more than once) when I was a teenager, that was one thing. When my dad bopped me behind the head to teach me to see the world around me, that was a gift. When he swatted my butt because I was screaming for no reason in the backyard, that was a gift. When he swatted my butt when — at age 3 — I almost stepped into a very busy street, that was a gift. And I agree with you. People who beat their kids shouldn’t have kids. That’s another thing all together. 🙂

  3. Yes maam, you have to look at the scenery or you’ll never know what’s going on in this world. I am amazed at what so many people don’t see. I’ve been looking since I was a tot. Maybe because one needs to observe if one happens to live in the country. I’ve always loved nature so maybe that was something I had from the start.

    Martha you have not missed observing as an adult as proved from your writings which are wonderfully descriptive. All that bopping must have had an impact in a good way. 🙂

  4. I had boos too but usually for misbehaving and misadventures! There was no abuse! I’m better for it! On vision, I totally get the glasses thing! I have wretched vision. Really wretched vision. Seeing leaves on the trees was my favorite thing when getting new glasses!

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