Sometimes discipline pays ... big.

It's becoming a very strange phenomenon, but every time I turn around, I find another reason to like Canada. A guy in Montreal, like so many parents, was going to spring an awesome surprise on his son for Christmas: "Guitar Hero III," one of the most popular video games around.

You can't blame him. It's a great game. On Saturday, while my companion was doing a 20-minute, in-depth comparison of electronic products that would've shamed Ralph Nader, I slid over to the demonstration model of "Guitar Hero" at Toys 'R' Us. Thirty minutes later, she was sighing, a line of kids stood behind me, rolling their eyes, and I was making rock faces and mastering my whammy-bar technique on "Rock You Like a Hurricane."

So I have a deep appreciation of the coolness of "Guitar Hero." I'm also a parent, which means I have a deep appreciation of new and exciting ways to punish my daughter. Which is why this man from Canada is my new hero.

According to Yahoo News, the man, who didn't want his name used, came home the other day to find his 15-year-old in the backyard smoking pot with some friends. Instead of meting out traditional punishment (grounding, extra chores, waterboarding), this heroic parent took the hard-to-find game on which he spent $90, and put it on eBay.

Some guy in Australia bought it for $9,100, giving many of us cynics final proof that universal karma for good parents does exist.

"So I was so relieved in that I had finally got the Holy Grail of Christmas presents pretty much just in the nick of time. I couldn't wait to spread the jubilance to my son," the father wrote on eBay.

"Then, yesterday, I came home from work early and what do I find? My innocent little boy, smoking pot in the back yard with two of his delinquent friends."

Don't you just hate delinquent friends?

So the man, a schoolteacher, decided that his no-good, pot-whiffing, delinquent stoner of an offspring didn't deserve the righteousness of "Guitar Hero III," which features a small plastic guitar (righteous whammy bar included) on which you play along with hard-rock songs.

I would've kept it for myself, forcing the little punk to watch helplessly (like the line of envious kids at Toys 'R' Us on Saturday) as I morphed into a metal Jedi. That's assuming, of course, that I'm not already a metal Jedi. Which I am.

Anyway, then I'd lock it up when I wasn't home. The only time it would come out would be for me to demonstrate my own superior metal prowess.

Unless some guy from Australia gave me nine grand for it.

The awesome parent-man from Montreal has a great sense of humor as well. He said chances are good his boneheaded, weed-loving, no-good scrub of a son will still get a Christmas present.

"I am still considering getting him a game for his Nintendo," said the greatest father since Ward Cleaver, Mike Brady and me. "Maybe something like 'Barbie as the Island Princess,' or 'Dancing With the Stars' ... I know he will just love them."

Which reminds me: I bought approximately $7,000 worth of Island Barbie stuff for my daughter (I can safely write that, as she's far too sophisticated to read my column). She lives for this Island Barbie person, who still isn't as hot as Ginger or Mary Ann. I don't know much about Island Barbie -- why she's on the island, or why she's there with a man unchaperoned.

But I do know this: Christmas is coming and my daughter has a rebellious streak in her as wide as the Continental Divide. Keep your eye on eBay the next couple of weeks, in case your local store ran out of Island Barbies. I may be able to help out. But I'm going to need enough back to buy my own "Guitar Hero III."

Reach Tony Hicks at 925-952-2678 or thicks@bayareanewsgroup.com. Read his blog, Insert Foot, on ContraCostaTimes.com.