Disciplining Toto

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By John Pawlak


Toto, you’ve been a bad little girl. In the Land of Oz, I would punish you by making you listen to a bunch of Munchkins sing, but we’re back in Kansas. So now, I suppose I’ll just have to beat you senseless.

Whack! Just remember that disciplining you is a sign of love, OK? Whack!

OK? Toto? Ah, damn it! Uh, anyone know how to resuscitate a dog?

Kansas is an interesting state.

The Kansas State motto is “Per Aspera Ad Astra”, meaning “To the stars through difficulty.” It’s ironic that Kansas would use Latin for its state motto. Back in 2007, the Kansas House and Senate passed bill H.B. 2140, making English the state’s official language.

A spokesperson for the bill said, “English-speaking Kansans deserve to know that their tax dollars will not continue to perpetuate unfettered government translations.”

Being an English-speaker myself, I’m not quite sure what that means. Will tax dollars now be used to perpetuate fettered translations?

Maybe it would make more sense if they said it in Latin?

Long before Dorothy equated a Technicolor vantage point to not being in Kansas anymore, Kansans were well known for their black and white perspective of the world. Blue laws abounded in stupidity.

“Rabbits cannot be shot from motorboats.” Kind of a shame that this is illegal. Kansans aren’t known for winning the Biathlon in the Olympics, but leporine skeet competitions could bring in the gold for Kansas.

“In Wichita, it’s illegal to carry a concealed bean snapper.” This one, of course, is a real downer for Second Amendment fanatics. Kansas politicians have no problem with shooting people, but snapping beans is simply out of the question. 

“It’s forbidden to serve wine in teacups.” There’s nothing that says you can’t serve tea in a wine glass.

“It’s illegal to throw knives at men wearing striped suits.” Oddly enough, an escaped convict wearing a striped suit is safe.

Now, one doesn’t have to peruse 19th century laws to find enough stupid to overflow a legislative teacup. Recent activities in Kansas have maintained the tradition of the inane.

Take, for example, the recent legislation (House Bill 2699) submitted by State Representative Gail Finney proposes that parents and teachers should be allowed to punish children (18 years old or younger) by spanking them up to 10 times. The law specifies that leaving marks is OK since it would be difficult to apply 10 whacks on delicate skin without minor bruising.

The law is vague on how one goes about counting whacks. Is it OK to spank the child 10 times, leave the room, come back in and proceed with a second spanking of 10 whacks, leave the room, come back in and proceed with a third spanking? Is there a time limit mandated between spankings?

I can see it now. A Kansas high school football coach no longer has to yell at an offensive tackle for screwing up a play. He can apply a “firm hand” in disciplining his team. “Travis, get your butt over here! It’s tenderizing time!”

Maybe padding is needed for more than just the shoulders.

OK, so the legislation was thrown out of the House. Travis’ tender areas are safe for now.

And yet, the Sunflower State continues to bloom in the news. A Kansas law had recently passed through the House, allowing businesses to refuse service to anyone for which, it would violate their personal religious convictions. This bill, however, is dead in the Senate.

But Kansas isn’t down for the count quite yet. After the 2014 Congressional elections, fundamentalist plan to resubmit the bill.

Yes, it’s stupid, plain and simple. Muslim taxi drivers could refuse service to solitary women. Fundamentalist school teachers could refuse to teach Jews or atheists. A Seventh Day Adventist could refuse to work with coffee addict.

And a flaming bigot could refuse service to a gay or lesbian.

But of course, the bill had nothing to do with discrimination against homosexuals. 

Just ask Toto.