Posted to SSS/ASRM April 2002

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Needing Attention

I know I'm not supposed to enjoy it - at any rate, that is to say, my enjoyment is not the main object: it's not for my benefit. Nonetheless, there is something deeply satisfying about the wallop and crash of my hand coming down hard - very hard - and the slap that leaves my hand stinging as I indulge in some serious knocking into shape.

No - 'knocking' is not the word - wrong connotations altogether. If you don't do it with love and care, the result comes out all wrong: I can remember my Grandmother lecturing me sternly on that point and she was one lady you didn't argue with! You have to work at it, work your hands hard, so the result is felt deep down - but that doesn't stop you enjoying the feeling under your palms - the bouncing, stretching resistance; the growing heat as you really get stuck in until your hands and arms ache.

There again, that's one of the secrets - no use doing a 'half- assed' job, so to speak. I know that there are proponents of the short 'n sharp approach who reckon that's enough and those who say that an implement is more effective but as for me, I say that hands were made before devices and the time itself is a virtue. It concentrates the mind to have it long, slow and drawn out. That's it - methodical, not mechanical: the hard slap down followed by squeezing with your fingers, feel it and make it felt, use your weight to overcome any resistance until there's a yielding ...and you're one step closer to a marked improvement.

Let's face it - proving that it's worked is essential: why else would we bother: but deep down you know the effort you put in now will be apparent in the future, so whatever it costs in hard work you put in - sweat for perfection...but still with that modicum of pleasure in the feeling of being in control, of having the time for some good old fashioned honest-to-goodness parenting. Not the sort of thing your own Big-Mac-designer-trainered-internetting-video-gaming children are likely to appreciate in the slightest, but even if it is a huge embarrassment to them that you insist on behaving this way you like to think that someday they'll be lecturing their own children about how different it was when *they* were a child and harbouring a little nostalgia for a golden age of the certainties of their childhood home.

Still, such meanderings don't get the work done now, so though your hands are aching and your shoulders are stiff, get in there and get the job finished.. Slap down and feel the bounce back as you put all your weight behind the heel of your hand: no use fighting back, my love, we continue until I judge we're done. And yes, we are done now.
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Those automatic contraptions have their place, but when all's said and done there's nothing like the gift of bread, made with your own hands to mark a special family holiday.

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Is it April yet where you are? It's April 1st here.........

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