By David O. Heishman –
Farmer Brown’s mule was old and sick. Too weak to plow anymore and Brown was getting behind in his work. Farmer Jones, across the fence had two good healthy strong mules and was half through with spring plowing.
Brown decided to go try to buy a mule from Jones. They struck a deal and Brown took his new mule home. At closing on the deal Jones said, “There are some things you need to know about this mule.”
“Mule works by voice only. No slapping or whipping or loud hollering. Just Git Up and Whoa, for go and stop and Gee and Haw for right and left. No rough handling. He’ll work quietly and hard all day long.”
Next morning Brown caught up his new mule, harnessed him, hooked him to the plow and said “Git Up mule.” Ears flopped, tail switched, no sign of movement. Again, “Git Up mule.” Nothing.
Back to see Jones he went with his complaint. Jones said “Let me come see.” As he approached mule, Jones picked up a chunk of broken fence board and smashed mule across the butt with it. “Git Up mule” and mule moved off to the field with Brown hanging on to plow handles. Jones hollered after him. “Sorry, I forgot to tell you. He works fine by voice, but some times you have to get his attention first with a good swat across the ass.”
Every time I read news about growing problems with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and related behavioral problems in children, I think of farmers Jones and Brown and the mule. Recent news stories about searches for cures, possible causes of greatly increased diagnoses, and the tremendous expansion of psychiatric conditions considered treatable with drug therapies I get fired up. I wonder how many such conditions might be controlled with early applications of a paddle…