Three licks the hard way

Ben Robinson

Ben Robinson

All About Ben

by Ben Robinson

Getting to see David Cox Sr. last week brought back memories and made me feel old.

For one thing, we were gathered together for Maddison Cox, daughter of David Cox Jr. to sign a letter of intent to play golf in college (although yours truly happened to forget the memory card in his camera for the photos, so that story will be in next week’s issue if I can get someone to send the photo over to me).

David Jr. was my classmate, both at Dacusville and then later at Pickens High School. David’s got a college-aged daughter? He must be old! Of course, if he is the same age as I am, somebody else might be old too.

But David Sr. was also the principal at Dacusville when I was there, and he somehow taught me a few things along the way.

I remember once while I was probably in the sixth grade, we were told we were going to be able to enjoy more recess time, instead of suffering through yet another class. Our teacher was Mrs. McConnell, who was known for being firm, yet fair. Several of us boys in the class were in the boys’ restroom before our time on the playground, and we decided to celebrate our good fortune by hollering in the restroom.

Mrs. McConnell could not tend to us but could indeed hear us. So she politely asked all of the boys who were in the restroom to go to Mr. Cox’s office and see what our punishment would be.

I was kind of a reckless child. I thought I did as good of a job as anyone of pushing things to their limit without ever crossing the line to push so far that I deserved punishment.

So we reported down to Mr. Cox’s office. He quickly asked which of us boys had been hollering in the bathroom. I quickly admitted I was one, not because I was honest but because I was scared. The other five or so boys were silent.

Mr. Cox then started in with a speech, saying that there was no way that just one boy had made all that noise. The guys listened, and eventually started to feel guilty about what they had done. Before long, Mr. Cox had all of them in tears.

Me? Having already confessed, I was getting pretty comfortable. Once all the other guys had confessed, Mr. Cox said, “Ben was the only one of you who was honest,” Honest, scared … whatever word you want to use.

“I’ve a good mind to just let him off,” Mr. Cox added.

I started to brush myself off and leave the office.

“But he deserves punishment too,” Mr. Cox continued, as he got out his paddle. “I will just give him three light licks because he was honest. The rest of you will get regular licks.”

I dutifully bent over a chair and took three quick licks to my backside. At first Mr. Cox had lied about them being “light licks,” but after I left his office, I could hear the other boys’ reaction to their paddling, and I could appreciate how fortunate I had been. Still, I made a vow to never get in that situation again, and I never did.

So I learned an important lesson that day. Honesty sometimes prevents a sore hiney.