The Norman Transcript

June 21, 2013

Did you misunderstand?


The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Far too many people live by a couple of interesting mottos: “Rules are made to be broken” and “Rules are for everyone else but me.”

As you may be somewhat aware, being human is not synonymous with perfection. Therefore, it is safe to assume that in one way or another everyone one of us has broken, will break or frequently breaks rules of one sort or another.

For goodness sake, this is not a debatable issue. Face your imperfections and embrace them by truthfully answering the following questions. No excuses, just the plain unvarnished truth, please:

Are you afflicted with or have you ever experienced the “lead toe” syndrome while driving? If so, then you have driven or often drive faster than the posted speed limit. You sit there in complete denial. But ask yourself, what is the first thing you do when you see a police car or highway patrol? Your foot instantly hits the brake, whether you happen to be speeding or not.

When it comes to traffic, do you have the patience of a gnat? When the road before you is a sea of motor vehicles do you follow the urge to show the other drivers how clever you are by zooming at full speed on the road shoulder, bypassing all those dolts who were not as clever and adventurous as you?

How often do you ignore posted signs?

Take for example the “Do not walk on grass” or “Do not pick flowers” signs. Are they engraved and personal invitations to cut across said patch of grass in order to save a couple of microseconds as you go from Point A to Point B? And just because the City spent taxpayer resources to beautify the otherwise concrete landscape, it does not mean you should pick a few of those posies for your sweet granny. Go to a florist and BUY her some flowers.

When you see a “Pick up your pooch’s droppings” sign, do you mutter “Why? It’s fertilizer. They should thank my pooping pooch for his environmentally friendly contribution to the landscape.”

How about those ubiquitous “Do not litter” signs? No, they are not printed with invisible ink. Yes, everyone sees them, but far too many folks also ignore them.

If you need proof, take a drive along any highway, street or country road and you will see proof of a commonly held misconception — car windows are the lids to the public trash receptacles, also known as the roadside or the land. Believe it or not, your dirty diapers, soda cans and snot-filled tissues will not self-destruct or stay put until someone picks them up and tosses them in the trash. The garbage you tossed will be spread by the wind until a fence-row, a ditch or building traps the refuse for the edification of no one.

Perhaps it is a mental aberration. Is it possible that the human brain processes the words “Do Not” to mean “Go ahead, do as you please”? If so, it could explain a great many things regarding rules.

This may be the reason why people smoke in “No Smoking” areas. It would also explain why a miniature pooch is hidden inside a woman’s purse and smuggled into places with prominent “No pets allowed” signs. Naturally, the rule breakers are certain those signs do not apply to “Punkin.” After all, she is a member of the family albeit a four-legged one.

In the workplace, many companies have dress codes. Of course, that does not stop the card- carrying members of the “that rule does not apply to me” crowd. They show up in attire which even in a parallel universe does not qualify as business appropriate.

Could my astute friend be right when she succinctly sums up such questionable behavior?

“Rules are simply guidelines or suggestions.”

Elizabeth is a freelance writer and author. Her novels “The Dionysus Connection” and “The Marathon Man” are available on amazon.com. Visit her website: www.elizabethcowan.com.