Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States

I'm just trying to develop an online body of work (even if the work is throwaway nonsense) to advance my writing career.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Book of Rules

"Each is given a bag of tools
A shapeless mass,
And the Book of Rules."

The Heptones, 1976

Rule #1
Retail customers: At least get off the cell phone long enough to transact your business. If the call you're taking is so important you can't be bothered to engage the people who process your bank deposits or calculate your clothing purchases, you shouldn't be out shopping in the first place; you should be tending to whatever matter is keeping you on the phone all day.

Rule #2
Retail clerks: At least get off the phone long enough to ring up our transactions, especially if you're on a personal call. I don't care who did what or why, I'm just here to pay for the gasoline and the Little Debbie snack cakes.

Rule #3
Turn off your car stereo at fast food drive-ins or anywhere you must converse with someone regarding a business matter. I don't care if your radio is blasting at the car wash, or the filling station, but no one wants to have to shout over your music just to tell you your total is$6.27.

Rule #4
"You're" and "Your" are not interchangeable. "You're" is a contraction for "you are", as in "You're really stupid" and "your" is possessive, as in "your stupidity is astonishing." If you write "your crazy", the appropriate response from the crazy person should be "my crazy what?" You can even observe the distinction in song: "You're So Vain" by Carly Simon is short for "You Are So Vain", because she's telling the subject of the song he's extremely self-absorbed. "Your Cheatin' Heart" by Hank Williams refers to the subject's vital organ, or at least a metaphoric representation thereof; her cheatin' heart will make her weak. Get it?

Rule #5
If you're a picky eater, you get one shot at ordering your meal. Nice and smooth now. "I'll have the double cheeseburger, no pickle, no mustard, extra mayonnaise." That I have no problem with. But all this, "Oh, and could I have some taragon on it, too? And do you have romaine lettuce or just iceberg? I forgot that I was allergic to sesame seeds..." Spare me, picky eaters! You have the right to be fussy, but not the right to amend your order time and again and make life miserable for the staff trying to get all this down and the rest of us waiting behind you.

Rule #6
Don't tell other people what the rules are or you'll come off as sanctimonious and condescending.