Rules Schmules

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I like rules, I like regulations. I’ve never broken a school rule and have never broken the law (even if there are men in Greece who might say otherwise, but that’s a different story). I can even back up this declaration by stating that I was a prefect in year 12 at high school, that is the epitome of a person who stands by the rules. But today I had to ask myself a weird question. Are rules worth it? 

I believe there was a king that said “is it better to be feared, or to be loved?”. That king was a tyrant and imposed all kinds of rules in the world, he was feared, by everyone. I believe it is better to be loved, to commandeer people with respect and kindness. As Donnie Darko expresses Fear and Love are the most extreme emotions, but where is the relevance in rules? Let me tell you. 

When I came home at Easter I had a bottle of shampoo and a bottle of conditioner that I had bought with me. At £6 each they’re more expensive than my usual purchase and I requested that no-one else use it because it was expensive. Today, somebody used it. And at first I was furious because I had expressed it as a rule that no one could use it, and all day I was planning a confrontation with the family. I know it seems like such a stupid ordeal now, but at the time the prefect in me was livid. A rule had been broken. So I told my boyfriend, who told his mum, who told her daughter that I wanted to know if someone had and she owned up to it. I said it was fine because it was just this once and not much was used anyway but what the daughter said to me broke my heart.

“I’m sorry.” She said a few times over. “I forgot it was yours so I used it and I feel really bad. I didn’t want to tell you because I was scared you would be mad.” That’s it. I was a tyrant. The girl thought that I hated her and all these rules that I thought were commonplace -not to touch my food. Not to use my things without permission. Not to enter the room without knocking the door- had actually made her believe that I hated her. Of course I was forgiving, I like to think I am a forgiving person and I was glad that she owned up to it. Perhaps I would have been a little less sparing if she had lied. Besides if I had gotten mad I just would have proved her theory and that would have been awful. I don’t hate her. I actually do really like her even if I’m not that good at showing it and I hope things can get better again. 

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I might like to stick to the rules but I am not professor Umbridge, I am Phie and sometimes I have to sacrifice a broken-rule for more important things. 

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2 thoughts on “Rules Schmules

  1. It was Niccolo Machiavelli (spelling may be seriously incorrect) who said that it’s better to be loved than feared. He wasn’t a king at all, but was a historian, politician, diplomat, philosopher, humanist and writer.

    Thank you Theatre Studies devising for teaching me something. I knew I had heard that quote from somewhere (turns out I had used in in my own dialogue for the performance)!

  2. Oh. Mea Culpa. It’s just that I’ve heard it in so many places. Classics, Archaeology, History, English that I forgot who said it in the first place, whether it was Phillip of Macedon or Charles I or someone else. Obviously it was someone else.

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