One of the strangest ironies of the Christmas season is the intense focus on behavior. You know, Santa won’t visit if you’re naughty. In fact, the word “naughty” comes up more often at this time of year than at any other. Doesn’t it seem odd that in the time of year we are supposed to be most generous, we focus on transgressions?

It would be one thing if we did this because we could then announce, ta-dah you are forgiven. But forgiveness isn’t a feature of Christmas. How many kids go to bed worrying that there will be coal in their stockings on Christmas morning? I know that when I was a cub, Christmas was a time I was constantly warned not to be naughty. Apparently, when Santa Claus comes to town, it’s the day of reckoning for boys and girls. Makes a kid want to be Jewish!

Now that I’m an adult in a disciplinary marriage, the word “naughty” is used year-round. Santa is relieved of the annual responsibility of assessing my naughtiness. Mrs. Lion has that job and she performs it all year long. I no longer worry about coal in my stocking. Now, it’s a paddle on my butt. Deck the halls with Lion’s red rear, Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la.

There have been a couple of developments in the naughty lion department. The first was that Mrs. Lion found some chocolate fudge on my chest the other morning. The night before, we had hot fudge sundaes in bed. I almost never wear a shirt or anything else, so any spills end up on my skin. Mrs. Lion commented that maybe my rule should include spilling food on my chest. I wonder if she is going to make that change. [Mrs. Lion — If Lion continues to spill things on himself, it might have to be a rule.]

In her post yesterday, she observed that even though I had been punished for failing to set up the coffeepot only a few weeks ago, I nearly did it again on Saturday night. She had to give me several “hints” before I realized my error. She assumed that once I learned something, I would always remember it. [Mrs. Lion — I don’t assume. I just can’t believe he forgets so quickly.] I don’t do it on purpose, but apparently my ability to consistently do what I am supposed to fade over time. A fresh punishment renews my sense of responsibility. I’m not alone in this. I’ve read accounts by disciplinary wives that they had the same problem with their husbands.

Apparently, a disciplinary wife’s work is never done.

Listen to this post.