Last week, while having lunch at a Chinese buffet in Salem, the seat slammed into my back, sending a piece of Kung Pao chicken flying from my chopsticks.

As the pummeling continued, I turned and looked over the back of the seat to find a young girl of maybe 5 jumping up and down on the seat of the adjoining booth and ramming herself into the seat back while two other women — who appeared to be a mother and grandmother ate their lunch.

After too many minutes of the seat back assault, I asked the mother: “Excuse me, could you please ask your child to calm down so that I can enjoy my lunch?”

The mother glared at me. You would have thought I had threatened to waterboard the kid.  The child was quiet — for about three minutes — and then started jumping up and down again.  I finally moved to the other side of my booth.

This wasn’t the first time for such an incident. I suspect it won’t be the last. Parental control appears to be a thing of the past. Discipline is a dirty word.

Amy and I decided to stop for dinner at Golden Corral in Roanoke Sunday. Trying to get to the buffet was a like negotiating the streets of Rome at rush hour. Young kids with parents no where in sight darted everywhere, cutting in line and using their fingers to grab food. One ran into a senior citizen with a walker, almost knocking her down.

At Barnes & Noble bookstore in Christiansburg last week, I saw a mother try to discipline a rowdy daughter who was about nine or 10 year old. The girl glared at her mother and told her to “go to hell” and walked off. The mother did nothing.

We all were kids once and we all got out of hand but if I pulled a stunt like some of the ones witnessed in the last week I would have been told once to cut it out and if I didn’t I would see the business end of a spanking.

Some now consider spanking to be abuse.

It used to be called learning a lesson.