The bad kids told of its existence. The rest of us always wondered if the rumors were true. Did Mr. Perry have an electric paddle? Of course as adults we now laugh at such a notion, but I tell ya, there was a time in my life where there lived deep within me some doubt over the matter. I thought to myself, perhaps old Mr. Perry did in fact have an electric paddle, and if I messed up, I might just experience its wrath.
I guess the electric paddle myth can find its origins in the existence of the electric chair, a device often associated with condemned men. Birthed in the mind of some over-imaginative child on his way to the principal’s office, it must have found its way into grade school lore as the ultimate in capital punishment for naughty children.
In my earlier years, grades K – 1, I remember seeing the paddle in my mind’s eye as looking like an ordinary paddle on the surface, but secretly being able to fire electric beams into the buttocks of unsuspecting kids with the push of a button. Interestingly, I abandoned this make in my later years of belief, grades 2 – 3, for a more reasonable design. The revamped electric model looked more like a ping pong paddle. However, at the push of a button, the head of this one would flap back and forth at adjustable speeds. Thus simplifying the spanking act and making it so that the disciplinarian needn’t even swing his arm.
I was by no means a bad kid in school, so I never actually got sent to the principal’s office for lashing out. However, due to my good behavior, on occasion I would be asked to run an errand to the beastly location. Once inside, I would strain to see if I could spot the infamous whacking stick. I never did, nor did I ever hear him fire it up as he let out a maniacal, door-muffled laugh. So it is with this sentiment that I quit believing in the electric paddle. But as you can see, I still haven’t totally forgotten about it… just in case.