Or else. As in Be Quiet! The ‘or else’ is implied and does not need to be stated. I was in the second grade, Lancaster PA. My brother Scott and sister Net and I (I’m the youngest, you know) were playing or maybe fighting in the room that my brother and I shared. I’m pretty sure there was some fighting going on, because we got pretty loud.

Now, the bedroom was right off the giant upstairs living room where mom and dad were watching television. So us three kids were ripping it up in the room and suddenly dad threw open the door and was just standing there, pissed. (Yeah, I guess we got a bit loud.) And dad was not just standing there, he already had his belt in his hand, ready for trouble. (Had he told us to be quiet already? A couple of times? I don’t know…who can remember all of that?)

But he was done telling us at that point, I could see that. He was glaring at us and popping that belt–you know how that works, right? Belt folded in half, pushing it together so it bows apart, and then yanking it back so that it Popped! Actually it Snapped! Pretty menacing, I can tell you. And he was just doing that, putting the fear of G-d in us, glaring and popping. I thought that was the end, just waiting on a whooping.

Until Scott laughed.

What got to him, I don’t know, but suddenly he just started giggling at the scene. For a moment my blood froze at what the consequences would be. Then, miracle of miracles, dad’s glare slowly but steadily softened, and suddenly he was laughing too, the old dork.

Whew, crisis averted. I guess the implied ‘or else’ wasn’t so implied after all.