On a recent trip to a speaking engagement I observed a family waiting to board a plane. Airports, hotels, and tourist spots are great places to observe the decline in child discipline and the resultant decline of our culture. This family was fairly unremarkable. Two obviously “magical” kids, one 5 year-old boy trying to engage a clearly uninterested stranger in conversation, the other, a toddler, with a t-shirt that read “Genius”. I called my wife about that shirt and we shared a knowing nostalgic chuckle. We both agreed that the little “genius” would prove to be anything but. That put me in mind of this excerpt from Chapter 6 of SLAP!, “Humiliation as Motivation”.
The beauty is, there is room to express yourself here. An example of Creative Humiliation: My wife made t-shirts for our children to wear when the unsavory aspects of their personalities proved resilient and repetitive. Our son often wore a shirt labeled, “Stupid”, reflecting his numerous failings. We look back now at his Kindergarten graduation pictures and laugh at the other children with their little neckties and dresses. And there’s our Paul with his “Stupid” shirt. We had to make that shirt five times as he grew through elementary school. Several of those well-dressed children now work for Paul at Kmart. Not so stupid anymore!
And we’ll never forget our Marian wearing her “Slut” shirt to the eighth grade dance after we caught her looking at shirtless pictures of soccer players on the internet. Unsurprisingly, she only had to wear that shirt once. The result? A mature adult choice as she recently put her baby up for adoption. We all amicably agreed that three children by three dads was one too many. I can’t describe how my heart swelled when her other two children helped blow out the candles on her 20th birthday cake. An unforgettable family moment made possible by SLAP!
There is nothing sadder or more naïve than that “magical” child built up into a “genius” before she can utter complete sentences. It’s all downhill from there.
Note: You don’t even have to painstakingly stitch these humiliation shirts yourself like my incredible wife did. You can design them online and have them sent to you. Aggro-parents love the internet! Let your imagination flow. Aggro-parents have made shirts labeled with “Fat”, “Bitch”, “Loser”, “Short”, “Tard”, “Clumsy” and many more.