It's all about the Liks cause we're heavy on the kicks
But we're easy on the treble (adjust my mic level)
So fools can hear me mic checkin all the way in China
The skills you can't front on, Tha Alkaholik rhymer
Could always rip a show up so I always flex my talents
but my words don't be slurrin, I never lose my balance
But that's cause I'm slick tossin bottles like a discus
The Liks could rock a party from Halloween to Christmas
That's why I'm screamin on MC's like I'm Onyx
I'm hooked on gin and tonics like your momma's Hooked on Phonics
Make Room - The Alkaholiks
Its the liks baby its the liks! Ha! Today I found a way to link my post to the song title I used. See the song (for you non-hip hop heads) is by a west coast group who started off called the Alkaholiks and are now called tha Liks. The extended crew the Likwid crew contained producer extraordinaire Madlib and also Xzibit (Mr X to da Z, the dude from Pimp my ride). Anyway liks or for you non-bajans lashes are specifically what I want to talk to you about today.
Yesterday I was looking at this bamboo plant that I have growing in the house and that seems to be not doing too well. Think it has got some sort of disease or something because it just started to go yellow even though I've been changing the water every two weeks and it seemed to be growing. Might have to get some tips from Sunshine on plant care.
Anyway bamboo got me thinking about the liks I got as a child at school because in most cases in primary school that was what the teacher gave us lashes with. I know some of you young ones might be saying teachers were allowed to beat children? How third world! How barbaric! But I know that any of you who grew up in the Caribbean around or before my time accustomed to the concept of getting liks at school. Some might have more familiarity than others. lol.
Now let me explain it to you all in case you don't know. Our teachers in Barbados and I assume the rest of the Caribbean too were allowed to give you lashes at school back in the day (cant speak about now) and some were by no means shy in this use of corporal punishment as a deterrent to bad behavior and as a means of encouraging you to learn. Spare the rod and spoil the child was taken literally.
How did it work? Well now that I'm analyzing it I think there were a few variables involved; severity of crime, type of implement used to torture the child, application of said implement and mental state of the teacher.
First let me start with the implement of torture. It all depended on the teachers preference. When you were in infants and class one and two ( 7 years old or younger) usually the teachers would use rulers as the implement. As you moved up some fellows liked leather straps, and some liked bamboos. Now I don't have a lot of experience with either but they both stung. I mean the few times I got liks I remember feeling the lashes days later. To me bamboos were the scariest. I remember the fear that seeing this big long piece of dry stick inflicted on me. And the teachers would sometimes be walking around warming up the bamboo; stretching and bending it, imparting it with kinetic energy to be transferred to you. I think fear of the liks was a psychological torture in itself. Where are those Amnesty International fellas when you really need them nuh?
Boy, I remember one time a fella in my class was facing some liks after lunch so brave fella he was, he snuck into the classroom at lunch and broke the teacher's bamboo thinking he would get off. Wouldn't you know it, the woman went down the hallway and into some secret cupboard for the backup bamboo and since she had an idea it was him who had broken the previous bamboo the boy get he tail cut.
Now as to the method of implementation of the punishment it also depended on the teacher and the tool of torture. Rulers were for lashes in the palm of the hand anything else was for your buttocks. And some teachers made you lower your pants part way so that they could be sure that you weren't hiding any extra padding such as exercise books or piece of cardboard to absorb the blows. Yep folk often went to extreme lengths to avoid the full impact of lashes on their butts. Liks were no joke! I remember once I got some lashes with a bamboo and I had some big welts on my behind for days. Yes me skin sensitive leave me 'lone.
Now severity of the crime and teacher's mental state went together because sometimes if the teacher was having a bad day and you did the slightest thing it was liks in ya behind. Some teachers would beat you at the drop of a dime! You get liks for talking in class, not paying attention, deportment. Some would beat you for failing or getting questions wrong in class. Every wrong answer was worth one lash. I guess the thought was that this promoted the correct answers but in some cases it just promoted cowardice as we were afraid of the consequences of speaking up and being incorrect. Of course all teachers beat you for anything beyond talking in class that they deemed bad behavior. Hence you would never talk back to a teacher, in fact you wouldn't even dream of talking back to a teacher or being disrespectful in my days.
The worst thing that could happen to you though was if the teacher decided your crime was bad enough to go to the headmaster. Wuhloss! At the words 'Go to the headmaster' or 'come lemme tek you to the headmaster' children would start getting cold sweats, crying like someone said their mother died, heart palpitations and on occasion uncontrollable bowel movements. Being sent to the headmaster was literally like being told that you had been sentenced to the gallows or to the electric chair cause it was certain that you were going to get some sort serious lashes. Not only that but if your parents ever find out you were sent to the headmaster you knew that the lashes wouldn't stop at the headmaster's office because you would go home and be beaten by both your parents. When you heard 'Go to the headmaster' dreams of running away and hiding in a gully would enter your thoughts but although your mind contained the thoughts the words "GO to the headmaster" would have taken any flight out of your legs and you were having a hard time just trying to stop them from buckling on the way to the headmaster.
Man I've seen many a 'badjohn' lose all his courage at those words, seen the fear fill his eyes as he just went silent.
Now, the headmaster was usually this big, cruel, muguffy (I don't know how to interpret this word for you non-bajans but I think its like scary, imposing bad man) who was ready to mete out punishment at the drop of a dime. I remember one time a teacher sent me to the headmaster not for liks but to pick up something or the other to use in the class. As soon as I knock on the headmaster's door by pure reflex the man was reaching for the bamboo and asking me what I do. I had to stutter out quickly that miss so an so send me to pick up whatever it was I came for because any hesitation on my part and I would have been another victim, just another statistic.
Oh and somehow or the other the headmaster's office was usually real scary too because he usually had an assortment of torture implements on display. Either he had two or three leather straps or he had like a glass case full of bamboos or just bamboos lined up against some random wall. He would have one that he would automatically reach for out of habit and which saw the most use but if he found that the crime was worse than average he would go into the case and start testing out the other bamboos. So you're standing there trying not to wet your pants, watching and getting more and more afraid as the time passes by while he tests out which bamboo stick to hit you with. Lawd ave mercy!
The one story about liks at school that sticks out in my mind is actually a day I didn't get liks. The teacher asked a question, someone answered it wrong and got liks and we were all afraid to answer it wrong so she started out on a beating frenzy. I ended up deciding I was going to get liks at some point or another if this went on and since I hated the waiting I decided I'd guess since I had nothing to lose. Well I put up my hand as she got near, guessed an answer and I got it right. Whew! Man that made me really popular with the half of the class that didn't get liks. They all thought I was so smart but little did they know that I pulled that answer from thin air. Boy sometimes its better to be lucky than good. Oh what cant I tell a story where I'm the hero for once? :-)
Now although I would say I didn't get that many liks at school I still got a few more stories about liks but this blog is getting long so maybe another time. Let me hear about your stories about getting liks at school.