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

  • 0

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

Catch the latest in Opinion

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

Attorney General William P. Barr sat down for an interview with NPR and did little to dispel the impression that he's run his office in ways that benefit President Donald Trump's personal and political interests. "Morning Edition's" Steve Inskeep asked Barr about a series of incidents in which the Justice Department under his leadership seemed to come to the rescue of Trump associates: the ...

The effectiveness of DNA testing and searches of the national DNA database is well-known. Over the last three decades, 137 wrongly convicted people were exonerated through DNA database "hits," which identified the person who had actually committed the crime. Currently, all 50 states, as well as the federal government provide some kind of right to post-conviction DNA testing. But there is no ...

The COVID-19 pandemic caused a huge spike in layoffs, leaving tens of millions of Americans without the employer-sponsored health insurance that had protected their families. But the 2010 Affordable Care Act offered a safety net for them - laid-off workers can sign up for replacement coverage for themselves and their families through their state insurance exchanges. And according to the Kaiser ...

Donald Trump is responsible for a fair amount of badness in the 3 { years he's served as president of the United States: Dismantling and denigrating American institutions, encouraging white supremacy, locking up immigrant children, asking a foreign government to interfere with an American election, lying 5 million times. And those are just a few things off the top of my head. And while it's ...

  • Updated

When it comes to COVID-19, a college campus is like a cruise ship, a cinema multiplex and a restaurant all rolled into one. Yet many U.S. institutions of higher education are forging ahead with on-campus, in-person classes and activities for fall terms, making campuses likely hotbeds of illness. Some students, faculty and staff will likely have permanent damage. Some will probably die. College ...

  • Updated

"DC should be a state. Pass it on." That's the message supporters of D.C. statehood pushed on social media late last week as the U.S. House of Representatives prepared to vote on D.C. statehood. And on June 26, for the first time in our nation's history, the majority-Democrat U.S. House of Representatives passed along party lines (save for a lone defection) a bill that would create the ...

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alert

Breaking News