Breaking the Rules

Usually I am a rule follower, even when the rule makes no sense. Why? Because basically, I’ve been a “good girl” all my life. Recently, my wife and I went to a place on the river that normally is open for camping, but apparently the coronavirus made this a day camping area only. The first night we got there, a guy told us the ranger would come around 5pm to tell us no overnight camping is allowed, but since they never return at night, we should just say thanks and it would all be okay. So…that is what we did. I was a bit uncomfortable and had the gut sense we should move along after a few days because they would see that we were in the same exact place several days in a row. The place was almost empty and one night we had it all to ourselves for which I was a bit spooked.

Sure enough, after three days the female ranger came and told us if we were here one more day, she would have to give us a ticket. We left. We traveled to a previous location also maintained by the Army Core of Engineers, because no rangers ever come around and there are no less that five other campers at this other spot. So, once again, we are breaking the rules, but we have company now!

That got me to thinking about rules that don’t seem to make sense. Out here on the river, everyone is way more than 6 feet apart, especially at night. So why does it close at night, but remain open in the day? Granted this particular rule is not a big deal, but there are so many other laws or rules that are dangerous or just plain wrong.

The late John Lewis talked about good trouble. Is there such a thing as good rule breaking? I think there is. Take the most recent example of the Georgia teen who posted a picture of the crowded high school hallway because she was concerned for the safety of the students, teachers and family. No masks were visible and sure enough nine cases of the virus appeared soon after. Initially, she was suspended for breaking a rule. I believe this was, “good rule breaking.”

Yesterday, we went to a restaurant in Oregon and learned that you can’t be served more than one beer at once. My wife had to finish her beer before the server would give her another. We had a good laugh at that one!

I went on a search of rules/laws that make no sense. Here are my favorites, both ones that are ridiculous and ones that are seriously wrong and against human decency.

  • Volunteers who provide food and water to migrants can be arrested for helping undocumented workers.
  • In Missouri, making more than two calls to the police for help with domestic violence is against the law and falls under the “nuisance” law category.
  • Up until 2013, there was an old 1872 law that said that rape only pertained to married women, in other words rapists could and did get off when they raped a single woman because of that law.
  • In a majority of states a rapist can sue for both visitation or custody rights of a child that is the result of rape.
  • Some of the most abhorrent laws are the so-called “ugly” laws. In Chicago, one of those laws stayed on the books until 1974. Before the law was repealed it was illegal to be in public view if a person was, “diseased, maimed, mutilated, or in any way deformed so as to be an unsightly or disgusting object.”
  • In Alaska a person can’t get drunk in a bar and remain there. I sure hope that getting in their car is not the most likely outcome of that stupid law.
  • In California, a frog that dies in a frog jumping contest cannot be eaten and must be “destroyed” as soon as possible. Ew….
  • In Idaho, you are safe from Zombies because cannibalism is not allowed, unless a person is in a life threatening condition and that is the only apparent means of survival. So…I suppose since Zombies need to eat your brain to survive, maybe you aren’t safe from Zombies.
  • In Maryland don’t look to have your fortune told there, because it’s illegal.
  • Perhaps Michigan is the place to live if you don’t want to have to deal with a cheating spouse, because, yup, you guessed it, adultery is illegal. To be fair, 17 other states have that same law. I wonder if that’s actually been tested in a same sex marriage.
  • No wonder Oklahoma is a red state because in that state, there is a statute that states, it is a “fact that there exists an international Communist conspiracy” committed to overthrowing the US government. I wonder if tin foil hats are all the rage there?
  • I am glad I don’t want to run for office or live in Texas because an atheist cannot hold any office in Texas. A person is required to believe in a “supreme being” to run for office.
  • No sex outside of marriage in Virginia. Oh I would have broken that rule for sure!
  • In my great state of Washington, all doors in nearly all public buildings must open outwards. We are a safety-minded state and I suppose this eliminates confusion during evacuations.

In summary, I was delighted by Joe Biden’s choice of Kamala Harris, but that got me to wondering if he was breaking any “rule”, written or unwritten by choosing her as his running mate. The question of whether a woman can ever be President has surprisingly been raised because in the description of the job in the Constitution, the word “he” is used to describe the holder of that job. I’ve no doubt the framers of the constitution certainly never envisioned a woman in the job, and certainly not a woman of color. Go Joe for being brave enough to cross that barrier. It is long past time that one of the major parties did that.

I am fairly confident I break rules all the time, even though I am generally a rule follower. Ironically, I feel less compelled to stay within the lines as a writer. I break unwritten rules with my writing all the time. I weave in political messages, create unconventional characters, acknowledge and thank reviewers publicly, and challenge ingrained views of the romance formula. Let’s hear it for good rule breaking. If you want to check out my books, you know the drill. Click the links below.

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12 thoughts on “Breaking the Rules

  1. Your books bring to light many issues, in an understanding way, that are usually avoided. Keep up the good work. And, in my opinion, good rule breaking is like telling a little white lie. It is done to help, not hinder.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. If the rule is wrong, then it’s right to break it. Of course that can be used for nefarious purposes, but for the most part, sensible people will make sensible decisions.

    Liked by 1 person

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