Major Rules of Life are well known. Therefore I believe it’s best to self-monitor adherence to them.
My Minor Rules of Life are not as widespread, and I’m compelled to . . . well, spread them.
Off the top of my head three Major Rules are “honesty is the best policy,” behaving like the “indeed friend” of “a friend in need” and the “do onto others” one which if you follow, you really don’t need the other two. (Benjamin Franklin, Ennius, and God thought of these rules. I know because Wikipedia said so.)
Here are my three Minor Rules of Life with infraction examples.
The Could/Should Rule:
Ian Malcolm, Jeff Goldblum’s character in “Jurassic Park” inspired my “Just because you COULD do it, doesn’t mean you SHOULD do it rule.” Malcolm said after viewing live dinosaurs, “Yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.”
This rule flashed through my mind at the sight of a garden edged with bowling balls. During my walk, a colorful string of spheres stopped me in my tracks. I quickly documented the Could/Should Rule infraction and resumed my stroll mulling over the effort expended to complete the bowling ball landscaping. The homeowners located, transported, and arranged about a hundred bowling balls weighing between 9-15 pounds each. I wondered at some point during the heaving and hauling if a question of judgment, an unease, or a gut feeling arose. The homeowners needed Ian Malcolm to knock on their door and say, “Yeah, but you bowlers were so preoccupied with whether or not you could, you didn’t stop to think if you should.”
The Proportion Rule:
Following the “Don’t blow it out of proportion rule” is difficult for me. Asking too many “what if” questions leads to infractions of this rule. My doctor recommended a stress test, the type using injected radium, due to pain I experienced. It may have been the lead canister that provoked my inquiries. When the nurse asked if I had any questions the conversation went something like this:
Me: So what will this test show?
Nurse: The flow of blood to the heart.
Me: What if it doesn’t flow so well?
Nurse: Then the doctor might recommend a stint.
Me: What if the stint isn’t enough?
Nurse: Then it might be open-heart surgery.
Then, I think to shut me up, the nurse explained how veins would be removed from my leg and stitched to my heart. I didn’t follow
what he said because at that point I hyperventilated. (It turned out my blood flowed just fine, but I shouldn’t eat so many dairy foods.)
These Stick Figure Family decals reminded me of the Proportion Rule. Is this a normal sized family of Mom, two kids, one cat, and a lion? Or is it a stick family of one normal sized cat with a really short family? Keeping proportion is a good rule to follow!
The Correct Punctuation/Correct Communication Rule:
Due to texting and emoticons 🙂 this rule may not be as relevant as the other two because it applies to actual writing. The type consisting of complete words and sentences. When a pile of poop (smiling or not) appears in a text, I have a good idea of what’s communicated. I don’t need an accompanying exclamation mark. So my “Correct punctuation promotes correct communication rule” is for times when your Smart Phone is dead and you need to write a sentence or two . . . like if you’re stranded on a desert island and need to dash off a note to place in a bottle. If the note says “Stranded on island with man-eating apes!” That’s different than “Stranded on island with man eating apes!” Neither situation is pleasant, but the first one is a bit more urgent.
This rule came to mind while walking through Milwaukee and I spotted a birdhouse with “No Mice For Rent” painted on it. I didn’t realize that one could rent mice. I don’t know why anyone would. Apparently there’s a high demand for rentable mice in Milwaukee because the mice supply had been depleted. If the sign had read “No Mice! For Rent!” that would make more sense to me. However, I don’t think that it would have been clear to the birds or mice since they can’t read. With these rules in mind I recommend NEVER placing huge bowling balls in your garden around a mispunctuated sign. Spread the word!