Rather than wait around for my dad to make the inevitable discovery, I decided to take matters into my own hands, and throw myself upon the mercy of the court. I set my jaw, marched from the garage into the living room, and stood tall in front of my parents as they sat watching tv on the couch. "What's going on, Johnny?" they asked, obviously seeing the look of resolute determination on my face as I stared into the face of certain death. "I played with Dad's knife in the garage," I declared, "and now I can't close it."
Dad promptly got up, went into the garage to investigate, and then returned moments later, his adult hands deftly solving the problem that my tiny fingers could not. He then led me by the hand to the master bedroom, a place synonymous with pain and retribution, and gave me a very measured and robust swat on the butt with a wooden paddle. Even though it stung, I was impressed by the fact that it had been a single swat, instead of the customary two or three which such a brazen act of defiance might usually have merited. I learned that day that if you make a mistake, it's much better for your conscience (and for your backside) if you own up to it rather than trying to cover it up.