Some rules are worth laughing at. Like not wearing white from September to May. When I congratulated my friend Dee on her courage in sporting a white dress in October, she said, “Oh, that rule’s just stupid!” It got me wondering what other rules I was needlessly following. We all know people who love following rules because it makes them feel secure. Others can’t stand any rule they haven’t made up themselves.
I owned a tee shirt for six months before I read the words inside the neck: “laugh at the rules / color outside the lines.” I still wear the shirt, but I don’t take its advice. “Laugh at the rules” makes as much sense as wishing gravity would give up, that lilacs should make up their minds (if they had them) to bloom in November or any old month, or that the tide should go out and never come back in. Nature is full of “rules” that we count on, sometimes for survival. Should we be any different?
Let’s face it: some rules aren’t stupid, like paying back what we owe and stopping at red lights. Learning the virtues helps us tell which rules are valid and which aren’t — which rules encourage our spiritual flourishing and which ones impoverish us. Me? I’m going to put on my tee shirt and go out for a bike ride. I plan to look both ways before crossing the street.