Cussedness Corner

"My work may be garbage but it's good garbage." Mickey Spillane

Jack Benny Corrupted My Kid

Sovay learned to count by watching Sesame Street.  However, she never did things according to the rules.  She refused to count for me so that i could tell how much she knew.  When I would coax her to count for me, Sovay would throw random numbers at me until I became frustrated and walked off.  I would be doing dishes and she would creep up behind me and count perfectly, but the minute I turned around and looked at her it was back to the random numbers gig.

In an effort to get her motivated into counting for me, I gave her an allowance in pennies starting when she was four and making her count the pennies for me.  If she could not or would not count the pennies, I refused to give them to her.  Then when she had enough pennies to spend on a toy, I took her shopping.

The system worked fine.  Eventually I was giving her nickels, and then dimes, quarters, and finally I changed them into dollars by the time that she was seven.

When she was five, I went to work fulltime.

A local classics station started running Jack Benny movies and tv reruns.  Jack Benny seemed to be a harmless enough show that I did not mind her watching them while I was busy.  Sovay adored Jack Benny.

When she turned seven, I told her, “Sovay, you’re too big to spank now.  If you misbehave, I’ll take it out of your allowance.”

Her reply was “I’m thinking.  I’m thinking.”

I had a delicate crystal prism on a shelf.  I was forever having to take it away from her.  One day I noticed there were pieces missing from the prism.  I knew immediately that Sovay must have gotten it and dropped it.

“Sovay, you broke my prism.  I’m going to take it out of your allowance.”

She immediately shrieked as if mortally wounded.  “Spank me, Mom.  Spank me, but don’t take my money.”


5 comments on “Jack Benny Corrupted My Kid

  1. Rusty
    September 28, 2008

    Shit. I’ve been doing it wrong all these decades. Reciting times tables was the norm for third-graders in 1969. I took it from there through calculus 4.

  2. Rusty
    September 28, 2008

    Reciting times tables was punishment, in case anyone was wondering.

  3. cussedness
    September 28, 2008

    Getting her times tables right based on having to count the coins in her allowance worked really well and she did not view it as punishment..

    I liked doing threes, fives, and nines times tables, but not the rest of the numbers. sevens and sixes I always got reversed at some point

  4. Johaha
    September 28, 2008

    I hated maths.
    Still do.

  5. khazar
    September 29, 2008


    You can now get Jack on DVD. They don’t make ’em like that anymore!

    where’s Rochester when you need him…

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This entry was posted on September 28, 2008 by in Janrae Frank, memoir and tagged , .

Janrae Frank

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