a few simple rules

I was pushing a loading cart holding maybe ten heavy boxes and an ironing board down the hallway of ‘senior living center’ (it’s a long story, but irrelevant to this post) when an old guy using a walker came tottering down the hallway with a small homely mixed breed dog that was suffering from some serious sinus issues. I stopped the cart, smiled at the guy, and said “Now that’s a fine-looking dog.” He smiled and chuckled and thanked me. Told me the dog’s name. Said, “He’s friendly,” which I took as an invitation to lean down and pet the wee creature, who was largely indifferent to the entire situation.

My friend, who was pushing a smaller loading cart, gave me a familiar WTF look as we started moving again. I said, “Always compliment a person’s dog. The dog’s don’t care, but it makes their owners happy.” She said, “Is that like a rule of life?”

Always compliment a person’s dog.

I decided that it was. Or should be. And here are a few more basic rules of life.

— Always compliment a person’s dog.
— Don’t block the aisle with your shopping cart.
— Apologize when you’re wrong.
— Don’t wear blackface.
— Hold the door open for everybody.
— Vote.
— Tip your server, even if the service is poor (because these folks are always overworked, get paid very little, are often abused by their customers, and sometimes they make mistakes like everybody else).
— Read at least a few paragraphs after the headlines.
— Tell the people you love that you love them.
— Tell the people you like that you like them.
— Push your damn chair in when you leave the table.
— Check the batteries in your flashlight.
— Don’t argue with stupid people.
— Park between the lines.
— Don’t judge people for the TV shows they watch, or the books they read, or the games they play, or the music they prefer, or the god they worship, or the clothes they wear, or the food they cook, or…just don’t fucking judge people.
— Refer to folks by the names they ask you to use even if you don’t understand and even if you think it’s stupid.
— Say ‘hi’ to strangers now and then.
— Try new foods, even if they sound/look gross.

Say ‘hi’ to strangers now and then.

Okay, that’s not a complete list. And maybe they’re more like guidelines than rules. And they’re my guidelines; they don’t need to apply to anybody else. I figure you’ve probably got your own. But these work for me.

8 thoughts on “a few simple rules

    • Hats. There are some people who, in my opinion, should NOT wear hats. They should still wear hats if they want to wear hats. A person who wants to wear hats, even if (in my opinion) they look goofy in hats, should wear all the hats they want. Wearing a hat is a statement (sometimes the statement is simply “It’s cold outside” or “It’s raining”) and I think it’s extraordinarily cool when the statement is “Fuck you, I’m wearing this hat” (even if I think the choice is unwise).

      Hats just want to be free.


  1. Walk/jog TOWARD traffic, ride your bike WITH traffic.

    Also, not a rule, just an observation: arguing with strangers on the internet is absolutely pointless. Just share photos of cute things.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There was actually a time when kids were taught to ride their bikes facing oncoming traffic, apparently so they could see the car that was going to hit them. That was also the time when schools built playground equipment on cement.


  2. « Refer to folks by the names they ask you to use even if you don’t understand and even if you think it’s stupid. »

    the bane of my entire existence in the USA…
    1. “can we shorten your first name” — because 3 syllables is too much to bare.
    2. (gives last name upon request)… “what the hell am I supposed to do with that?”

    « Don’t block the aisle with your shopping cart. »
    I think it is a cultural thing I am witnessing, but there is the occurrences of:
    1. 3+ people block a busy sidewalk to have a chat (with no way to sidestep them politely)
    2. reach the top (or bottom) of a staircase/escalator: stop right there to (wattevs).

    like pocket flashlights, I wish there was one of those pocket air-horns.


    • When I lived in Manhattan I had a friend who would get furious when tourists blocked the sidewalk. She’d shout “Move your Nebraska ass.” She said the shouting 1) allowed her to relieve some frustration, 2) got people to move, and 3) gave the tourists something amusing or appalling to tell folks when they got back home to Nebraska.

      Liked by 1 person

      • — in nyc? of course. classic. my ex-landlady in SF gets out her elbows, when local newbies are doing their two hours wait to have brunch and block the sidewalk. I cannot proceed with either, but I have to figure a way.


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