When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I survived at all. Growing up in a traditional Irish Catholic home came with its fair share of strict rules and punishments. Now I'm not saying that my life was like something out of Angela's Ashes but my pre-adolescence was very rule abiding nonetheless. Break one of my parents rules and it was the belt or wooden spoon across the arse! I remember how much I hated going to mass on Sundays and how I broke my father's heart by telling him that I didn't believe in God or Gaelic football for that matter. When I entered into my teenage years however things lightened up a whole lot. I was given a good deal of independence and an even greater opportunity to make my own mistakes, but no matter how much autonomy I was given I still had to follow my parents old-age saying "If you live under this roof you live under our rules!!"
This children's story was written in 1845 by a creepy German man named Heinrich Hoffmann. He used horrifying fear tactics in his picture book Struwwelpeter as a means to get children to follow the not-so-serious rules of their parents. The story of little suck-a-thumb was the tale that terrified me the most. I have no idea what my mother was thinking when she read it to me.