I’ve said it for a long time. It’s kind of my personal slogan. It’s what makes me an anti-institutional rebel despite all appearances to the contrary. For those of you who may not have already guessed, I’m Cheryl, and the rules don’t apply to me.
Now before you get all finger wagging at me, let me just say, yes, there are many, MANY rules that apply to me. I meet my writing deadlines. I pay my taxes (and I don’t shade the truth, however painful). When I fly, I put all my liquids and gels into a quart size plastic bag (though I still have it out for that airport security guy who made me toss my apricot-scented antibacterial hand lotion because he just didn’t get it). I certainly obey traffic laws (except for that one way sign behind the TJ Maxx on Route 13 because it simply makes no sense). And call me a dork if you will, but I do pay for online music.
At this point in my life, though, I’m trying not to get wrapped around the axle about certain man-made (i.e., not God-given) rules, possibly to the dismay of many people around me. I try to get books back to the library on time, but I don’t sweat a fine here or there. I fill out permission slips to the best of my ability, but I may bypass the channels here or there because of this or that. I park on the wrong side of the street on street cleaning days (and I haven’t gotten a ticket yet).
Pretty much I look at lots of policies as flexible…unless they’re posted in writing…next to a metal detector.
Just the other day, in fact, I wouldn’t take “no” for an answer from a pizza parlor girl who said that I couldn’t order my pizza by phone, show up to meet it, and then eat in the restaurant instead of taking it home. This from a girl who, when I asked her how big the medium pizza was, told me it was 6 slices. I wonder, if I was really hungry, could she make it 12?
I remember learning years ago about philosopher Immanuel Kant’s approach to ethical decision-making. In short and in my words, he said that if you’re trying to determine which rules or moral principles to live by, just ask yourself, if everyone followed this principle all the time, then would that be OK with me? Sadly, I fear that the rule of “the rules don’t apply to me,” pitifully fails this test.
Just think, if everyone ordered their pizzas to eat in, then surely the heads of pizza parlor hostesses around the world would simply explode. And you and I both know, we can’t have that.