---Jenny Holzer, avant-garde artist
I am a rule follower. I have always been a rule follower. It is not so much that I am a goody-goody, but it is more that I will ALWAYS be the one who gets caught. I imagine it is the "deer in the headlights" look in my eyes that gives me away. I spent my high school years really wanting to cut class, just to prove I could, but while my fearless friends went to the movies, I ended up in my Geometry class.
College did not bring out my wild side. University of Miami was chock full of temptations, yet I ended up in class each day. I never broke curfew. In fact, in the age of drugs, I never even tried pot. Again, I would have been the one who got caught. In fact, I was the one who got caught, and I wasn't doing anything. The summer after graduating, I visited friends in Coconut Grove. We met three guys at their pool and accepted an invitation to join them that evening. We weren't there long when several joints made their way to the party. My friends, knowing me well, whispered that I needed to keep quiet and fake it. This was their turf, so I unhappily passed the joint without ever taking a puff. That's right...I didn't inhale.
After several uncomfortable minutes, the guys pulled out badges. These were the days of narcotics agents looking to bust college kids, and telling them that I hadn't inhaled wasn't going to cut it. This story ended happily! They ultimately let us go with a warning, and I learned a good lesson. Live by the rules, and NEVER fake it.
I was always the teacher who made sure I signed out if I was leaving campus and always had her lesson plans in on time. My students knew that I would always be fair, but they had to follow the rules. It wasn't that I feared anarchy, it was just the only way I knew. A fellow teacher gave me a page from her daily quote calendar, that featured Jenny Holzer's quote. She was frustrated with me at the time and complained that they were all victims of my rules.
I now live in a community that is governed by an HOA, and I finally realize that sometimes rules become suffocating. While the board of directors of these HOA's almost always mean well, their desire to run a perfect community sometimes overshadows the bigger picture. Too many rules become counter-productive, and even rule followers like me are tempted to break a few. Yep, I might even run with scissors, eat dessert before dinner and park in that no parking zone. I might get caught, but I plan on having fun before I do.
My first book this week, Little Victories: Perfect Rules for Imperfect Living by Jason Gay, is a heartwarming look at life from a sportswriter who believes that the little victories are as important as the big ones. In fact, sometimes those little victories are the ones that carry us through our days. This is a very funny look at life from a man who faces the tough times with a ready smile.
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch is such a well written science fiction book that it actually had me lost in the world of quantum physics. Through no choice of his own, Professor Jason Dessen ends up trying to navigate the "multiverse" after he is kidnapped and finds himself in a world where the life choices he made were very different than those he remembers. I could not put the book down and recommend it highly.
As always, complete reviews of these two books follow this blog.