Sunday, February 13, 2011

Making or Breaking the Rules

We, as a civilized group, live by certain rules. The golden rule is a good one. Other rules to keep us in civility are the ten commandants, but like all rules, some will be broken.

The rules we form for ourselves to live are usually taught to us as children. Parents shape our evaluation of good and bad by showing us faith, social interaction, and consequences. As we grow older, being tempted by peer pressure or coveting or lusting, each of us must decide whether to listen to the values or give in.

Wishes, desires, commandments are turned into Laws by statesmen listing every nuance of the rule in great detail.

We hire these statesmen (and stateswomen) from a list of strangers who are friendly to us, listen to what we request, then promise to represent our wishes in the game called government.

Their real job is to ask for more money to spend. How many jobs offer the benefit to increase your own salary?

Each law, code and amendment these government officers construct and agree on are the rules the majority of civilization follows to maintain order on this little blue marble.

Games have rules. I was never very good at games. Perhaps I didn’t understand the rules. (I even bought a book on the rules of different games, but never read it).

Card games are one of acceptable social interactions taught to us as children. To calm a group of screaming rug rats, pull out the card table and let them play a game.

I spent hours playing “War” or “Go Fish” on the floor with groups but it was a simple diversion to pass the time. Once the games involved partners, like “Bridge”, where the rules of the game were critical to winning, I lost interest. “Poker” and other games of chance involving money became more competitive showing the darker side of the human soul, and while somewhat revealing, scared me away.

I was never a good partner in a game because I would change the rules. For an example, in “Bridge” I would raise the bid higher than what the cards in my hand indicated. When the cards were shown, it made the game more difficult, yet more exciting. That was more important than winning.

Most sports, which are supposed to be games, bore me yet are more challenging television watching than other game shows. Through repetition, I’ve learned some of the major rules of sports, but enjoy the decision making more than the colors and athletic feats under the constant chatter of talking heads.

Over all I abide by the rules. I pay my taxes, pay my bills, stop at red lights, lock myself in at night to stay away from the ones who wander in the darkness, and even vote every couple of years for a new list of strangers who will gather together with other strangers, each bringing their own experiences, beliefs, and goals to make new rules.

And like lemmings, we will follow the rules; obey the laws not because they are so wonderful and life enriching, but because it is too much of a hassle not to.

H923.18 Section 132.5-Code124.2:1-1 amendment