Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Rules for Living

When we were younger, my twin sister and I had a variety of rules that we devised for living. Don't get too excited that you have found the key to life here, they were narrowly defined rules for certain situations that we memorized for quick action.

Rule 1: Your objective is length.

When you are in high school everyone has to write the dreaded essay for whatever class. I was comfortable with writing and with reading lots of books, if that was required for the book or lab report, while my sister found these things less enjoyable. I don't ever think we ever stooped to reading books for each other, but we definitely proofread each other's reports so the other could help with the writing and getting to that critical word count or page length requirement. Whenever we did this she would ask that I help increase the length of the report. "Your objective is length." As you have guessed I can be wordy when required and I would go through the report and replace one word with two, or a phrase and bulk up the report.

The problem with being wordy is that when you get to the next level they don't like that style of writing and you get to learn again. It also turns out that wordy writing is bad style. In college all the lab reports and projects needed to be written in cold third person and passive voice so I learned that. In graduate school my advisor only wanted active voice and to lose the wordiness. This time the relearning process was extremely painful. I probably took an extra year in graduate school just because of that.

I hope this current writing foray will help me learn the new style.

Rule 2: Make the light.

Taking advice from teenagers on driving is probably a bad idea. Please go take a defensive driving course, I did. Also, don't try to extract any deep meaning from this one about light or knowledge or anything like that, it merely refers to stoplights.

Rule 3: Never get behind a Strohmann's truck in the left lane on Ridge Pike.

You can see here why we stopped making rules. They became too specific and not general enough. Strohmann's was a bread company with a factory on Ridge Pike. If you got behind one you would be stuck because they were always making left turns into the plant and it took forever because traffic was shooting by at high speed. It was a good rule for its time.

I am sure there were other rules that I don't remember anymore. Do you remember any similar rules from childhood?

1 comment:

His Twin Sister said...

Great entry Bro!

Love, Bex.

P.S. Is it bad that I still follow Rule 2, on a daily basis?