Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Some people like rules.

Place rules here!

No matter who you are, or what you do in life, somebody else has a set of rules for you to follow. I understand that when you live in a society that there has to be rules for that society to follow. I always thought that if somebody wants me to follow a rule, that they should make it real simple and unambiguous. The reason for the rule should be plain for everybody to understand.

Some people like rules, and they just bumble along, as long as they have a rule to follow, they don’t have to think or apply themselves… Yup, yup, that’s the rule… don’t have to think.. yup, yup. And life is good for them.

When I was a little kid, I thought about everything, and wondered how everything worked. If there was a silly rule, especially like one that applied to me, I spent a lot of time thinking about it, and wondering why anybody would make up such a silly rule, a rule that had no real meaning other than; That’s the Rule.

Maybe some of you remember, from some of my other stories, that I was always a smart little kid and caught right on to some, very complicated, ideas. But, when I was a little kid, my mother would come up with some of the most unfounded rules that you can ever imagine. Of course, I was always quick to question why whatever she said was a rule. It always started with something like her saying; “Don’t do that!” And I would say; “Why not?” because I was a curious little kid, and I was always eager to learn something new. She would follow up with something like; “Because I said so!” Well heck, that’s really not a good reason to base a rule on. So, I would point that out to her. She would follow that with something like; “Because I’m your mother, and you’re the kid, and you’re supposed to do what I say!” Well heck, anybody can see that’s nothing to base a rule on, so I would point that out to her.

As I sat upstairs in my room, I would ponder where I went wrong. It would occur to me that I had just explained myself poorly, so in my mind I would carefully craft my phrases. At the next opportunity, I could explain myself, and it would occur to Mom that that I was indeed right, and she was wrong. She would apologize and I would be allowed outside to play again.

I knew that it wouldn’t be long until she would be at the door of my room eager to gloat about her victory. All I had to do was bide my time and wait. Sure enough, she would come to the door and say; “Are you ready to come out and behave?” I would say; “But mom, I was being-haave, and I would go into my much smoother explanation. She would say; “You can’t come out of your room until you can come out without saying “But Mom!” The door would close, and there I would be, working on a yet smoother explanation.

Sometimes I would still be in my room until Dad would come home. I would hear voices downstairs. Then I would hear the creak of the steps coming up to my room, the knob would turn and the door would slowly open. My dads expression was always unreadable, his face was the face of a good poker player. He would come in and sit on the edge of the bed. Then he would say; “What do you have to say for yourself?” My father was always much more reasonable than my Mom. So, would explain that I wiggled my feet, or what ever I did, and Mom made a rule out of the clear blue sky, for no reason, and that I felt bad for her and tried to explain that there really was no good reason for a rule like that and I tried to explain it to her many times but she just didn’t get it.

My dad's face would stay the same, you really couldn’t tell whether he was mad, happy, sad, frustrated, disgusted, or bewildered, it just looked like this was something that he just wanted to put behind him. He would say; “The next time that your Mom uses a sentence that ends in an exclamation point, just get up and say that you are sorry and go outside and play.” My face was not nearly as unreadable as dad's, and he could see the questions coming to the surface, and he would say; “I know that you always like to know how everything works, and what the reason for everything is, so I’m telling you that this is not a rule to follow, it’s just a way to live longer". His face was hard to read... But I believed him.


Anonymous said...

Laws control the lesser man. Right conduct controls the greater one.
Chinese Proverb

Clearly your mom didn't know she had the latter kind of man.

sohumborn said...

Ernie, I just read this story to my own grown children and we all died laughing. Thanks!