January 14th, 2010
I saw a man defecate between subway cars the other day. The woman sitting across from me looked at me and said, “Is he doing what I think he’s doing?” My reply was, “Yes. Yes he is.” Potty humor is not my style… but there was something to be said about his confidence to just do what he needed do where he needed to do it. There is a sign that says you’re not supposed to stand between subway cars... but I haven’t seen the one where attending to our bathroom needs is prohibited in that area. Maybe the jokes on us.
The action that I witnessed was clearly in the wrong and once again reminded me that my theory that adults need time-outs has its merits. This idea was birthed a few years ago when my friend was constantly getting himself into trouble because he lacked a verbal filter. Over and over, I took charge and would have to place him in time-outs which provided him the opportunity to reflect on his behavior. He was 32. After the punishment was complete, I suggested that he keep his mouth shut. Plain and simple. The result: The world started working for him rather than against him.
Do you know of a grownup who could benefit from a time-out? For you, readers, I give you:
Jax’s Guidelines For Using Time-Outs With Adults:
1. The time-out area should be easily accessible and in such a location where the adult can easily be monitored. For example, if most activity takes place in a strip club in a seedy part of town, the time-out area should be on the premises. A chair by a pole is an excellent spot. Placing an abacus nearby is a superb way to keep the adult informed of how much time he or she has left to serve.
2. It is very important that the adult be aware of the specific behaviors that he or she is being punished for. They should be very concretely defined. For example, stalking means sending a ransom note along with salad ingredients to Carrot Top every Thursday at 3:50PM. That is wrong.
3. While in time-out, the adult should not be permitted to talk and make noises in any way. He or she should not be allowed to play with any wireless mobile devices, watch Season 3 of “Lost" or bang on the furniture. Any violation of time-out should result in automatic resetting of the abacus for another time-out period.
4. Very difficult adults, such as those with alcoholism, narcissistic tendencies or short fused anger issues, may need to be placed on a short reward program. This could include lining up 20-30 margaritas. Each time the adult does a time-out, he or she gets a little umbrella for the drink. When each beverage is full they can earn a special treat for learning how to do time-out.
On a final note, the most self aware of adults are capable of giving themselves a time-out. I am about to seclude myself and reflect on my wrongdoings for just having sent Carrot Top some baby carrots, arugula and Paul Newman salad dressing along with a note that says, “You won’t get your props back until you love me.”