Life Arts


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Kev was a small lad who had a haircut. It was a cracker. It was post punk and cool and cost him his entire week's pocket money. The unit would normally pay for a haircut but Kev got this on his way back from a home visit. The tiny ponytale was the talk of the unit and the manager was furious. Kev's status was confirmed because the manager said his ponytail was not acceptable!

Kev annoyed everyone. He was smug, arrogant, cleverly annoying and I had seen him infuriate mild members of staff. He was always losing his pocket money because of his language. He dressed exquisitely. He met his shabbily dressed Social Worker one day and the look of distain on his 13 year old face was a scream.

Kev and I though, had declared a truce. He had been running away and I stopped my car to pick him up and got smashed into by a car from behind. I grabbed him,threw him into the car and shouted at him, blaming him for the accident. He sat silent. I then felt bad. I apologised and said I was just shaken by the accident.

When the Police arrived he jumped out of the car. I thought he was absconding again, but he ran to the hated "pigs" and said that I was carefully doing my job when this lunatic driver hit me ....he should be breathalysed. He..he cared for me!

The next day, with the new haircut, we went to Kev's Children's Panel (In Scotland, it is the Court for children). On the way he said "My dad's going to kill me". I asked why, more concerned at the traffic following my accident. "Because of the haircut." The problem was that his father had paid for the previous haircut. He again said his father would kill him. I ignored this. Kids were always saying " I'll kill you " etc.

At the Panel door the father was waiting. I was 30, big and very fit. I had studied Tai Chi. Kev was cowering between me and his huge, shabby Social Worker. There was nobody in the world going to hurt this child.

His father held his hand out and I went to shake it. He suddenly punched Kev right in the face. Kev hit the floor, but did not cry or make a sound. I then understood why fining him for swearing was kind of a waste of time.


'Hamish ' is an antiwar writer socialist- scientist and musician living in Scotland.

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This story is heart breaking. Authoritarian parent... by SwampWitch on Tuesday, Nov 21, 2006 at 2:22:41 PM