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STELLPFLUG COLUMN: Rules made to be broken? Not when it comes to COVID

STELLPFLUG COLUMN: Rules made to be broken? Not when it comes to COVID

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Nobody likes to be told what they can and cannot do as an adult. When we were children, we had to follow the rules, listen to our elders, authorities and teachers. As adults we want to make our own decisions, do what we want and be independent.

I honestly think some people didn’t get to be naughty enough as children so they are rebelling now. Like the 14-year-olds who never got to sneak a beer, they have turned into 21-year-olds who drink themselves silly every weekend. Breaking free of the restraints of society must be cool in some sectors.

Who wants to adhere to anti-littering campaigns when we know there are park employees paid to pick up after us? Why should we follow speed limits when there is clearly no one else around? Who needs to take precautions when we are all going to get this COVID thing at some time anyway, and some will die, but not us?

With long and confusing guidelines put out by every level of government and agency, many conflicting, it is no wonder we want to throw up our hands and cry uncle. The patchwork, rolling target—or are they rolling targets?—ever changing rules are a conundrum.

Varying from country to country, state to state, county to county, and city to city, we are at a loss as to what exactly to do. We didn’t want to follow all those rules anyway, so if we want to go to a bar, we go to a county where they are open. If we want to get a haircut but don’t want to wear a mask, we go where they are choosing to not wear masks. If we get sick, there are many hospitals now set up for us, we get to choose that too.

Talking with friends in other areas, it is almost amusing to hear what constitutes a bubble, six people? 10 people? 250 people for a wedding? It is fun to read about Italy’s 100-page post lockdown rules that include gelato being served only in a cup, not a cone, and encasing beachgoers in plexiglass walls. Actually, both of those were thrown out after further consideration and making no sense.

Maybe that’s what we all are looking for, some sense in all of this. Asking mayors and officers of the law to enforce some of these things is unrealistic, and a huge waste of time. We might consider taking more seriously the scientists and medical personnel who are on the front lines and have seen results while practicing certain precautions. In fact, many countries are now recovering while our band of rebels continue to pass along a virus with no cure and no vaccine. That’s the kind of independence we get to display for all the world.

If you want to break the rules, how about some of the less fatal ones? There are some great laws in every state you could break without hurting anyone. In Connecticut, it is unlawful to sell a pickle that doesn’t bounce. In Gainesville, Georgia, there is a city code that says it is illegal to eat fried chicken with anything other than your fingers. This was actually a publicity stunt directed at tourists since this city claims to be the poultry capital of the world. In Idaho, they still have an active ban on cannibalism, just “nonconsensual consumption” though. Maybe that one could hurt someone.

If you need to break rules, go eat a soggy pickle, or chicken with a fork, or even your friend without his consent. Or you can go to Arizona and spit. You could be charged up to $2,500 with six months in jail, but what the heck, it’s a law and lousy etiquette, but you could spread your possible contagion there, not here.

Whoever said rules are made to be broken and I am sure I have over the years, never watched their uncle on Zoom die alone in a room from a serious virus he caught from a rule breaker. Now do you want to cry uncle?

Kay Stellpflug is an educator and trainer in interpersonal and professional communications. She works and lives in Beaver Dam and can be reached at


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