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Yeah, Let's Break Some RULES! - The Book of the Celestial Cow

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December 18th, 2006


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07:12 pm - Yeah, Let's Break Some RULES!
I am slightly perplexed by my moral code.

This afternoon, I went to the post office to mail a Christmas present. I got the appropriate-size ReadyPost envelope, addressed it, and got in line. That was when I discovered that my present was about half an inch too wide. Try as I might, I could not fit it into the envelope.

Well, this was lame. I had just wasted the envelope. But, then again, I hadn't even paid for it. I could just throw it in the trash, right? No one would be the wiser. But wouldn't that be tantamount to stealing?

I...put the envelope back with the others. As if someone might actually attempt to use it. As if my damn address weren't on there and they wouldn't be able to hunt me down.

I was having a crisis of conscience over $1.29, you guys. It wasn't like the government would fall apart here.

Finally, I retrieved the envelope and resolved to pay for it. I could surely use it another time; thankfully, I hadn't removed the protective strip over the adhesive.

Later that day, I searched for a travel charger for Pipsqueak. I'm going home for a week on Wednesday, and it seems that over half my time will be spent at a wedding in Austin, so I was afraid I wouldn't have access to a computer to charge my iPod Shuffle. I was pleasantly surprised to find some cheap chargers, but I needed it NOW and couldn't wait for it to ship. So I checked prices at Circuit City and Best Buy and discovered that, what the hell, they were thirty or forty bucks. Why would I pay that much when I could get one for six? But I needed it for the coming week.

So I bought one from Circuit City. With the intent to use it for a week and then return it. Now, that doesn't necessarily break any rules, but it still feels really shady and unethical, yet I am doing it anyway because whatever, right, they won't miss it. I've even worked in retail, so I know what I'm doing is wrong in a sense; that week I keep it is a week someone who may actually intend to buy it for life won't be able to. But it's Circuit City, so whatever, right?

We all do this to some extent, I think. Everyone speeds. Who comes to a full and complete stop at every single stop sign? The rules were made to be bent, it seems. It makes me wonder at the things we do and how we justify them. It's okay to cheat the big corporations because they have gobs of money, but damn if you don't feel like a shit for pulling the same sort of thing at an independent business.

If we all make our own rules, what's the point in having rules?

That's a heavy question, I know. So here's some heavy...metal.

VoicePost
958K 5:08
(no transcription available)

Current Mood: nauseatedthroaty
Current Music: Honeycut - The Day I Turned to Glass

(43 memoirs | Describe me as "inscrutable")

Comments:


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[User Picture]
From:enfermo
Date:December 19th, 2006 03:25 am (UTC)
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You make me smile so much.
:DD
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From:orangesky33
Date:December 19th, 2006 03:25 am (UTC)
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I was going to try and be all sage about the rules questions, but now all I can muster is HA HA HA HA AWESOME! *headbangs* *air drums* (What it's a totally feasible companion to air guitar?!)

WOO!
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:December 19th, 2006 03:28 am (UTC)
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Sam may not be amused, but Dean was totally rockin' out, right?
[User Picture]
From:warden96
Date:December 19th, 2006 03:29 am (UTC)
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Who comes to a full and complete stop at every single stop sign?
Me.
[User Picture]
From:idreamofpeace
Date:December 19th, 2006 03:35 am (UTC)
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My big evil thing is that I'll sometimes buy a book and, if I don't like it after I've read it, I'll return it. I mean, you can try everything else on, why can't I try a book on? And it doesn't cheapen it for someone else... I only do this if I can't find the book in the library and have no other recourse on how to read it. And I always go to Barnes & Noble or Borders because they're BIG COMPANIES.

Wrong, I know.
[User Picture]
From:80sfiend
Date:December 19th, 2006 03:46 am (UTC)
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That's like not taking the tags off and returning it after you wear it! Shame on you! ;P
[User Picture]
From:80sfiend
Date:December 19th, 2006 03:43 am (UTC)
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Since I work in the post office at my work, I'm really happy you paid for the envelope. :) It's the right thing to do if it's unusable afterwards...but in the future I'd suggest trying the envelope first to see if your stuff fits and THEN writing on it. ;P (We really don't mind!) By not paying for the envelope, you would've been screwing over the people there who have to do inventory and account for damages like that. (It's not fun, trust me. :P) But I definitely agree about the whole "making our own rules" thing. I think everyone has their own moral code and only abide by society's rules because they have to. The reason we have rules in society despite that fact is because people do not know how to exist without them. People wouldn't know how to act if they didn't have boundaries to guide them in their decisions. Essentially it's like assigning an ethical code to people in order to prevent unnecessary violence. Even though there are negatives to this system, the positives far outweigh them. /of rant...LOL Sorry I'm feeling really philosophical today I guess. :D
[User Picture]
From:etherealclarity
Date:December 19th, 2006 04:03 am (UTC)
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I got my very first speeding ticket on Friday and I cried.

I mean, I know I speed a little, but god damn it, I'm a good driver anyway! That's a case when I think the rules are dumb. I know they're meant for good reasons, but this guy had a quota to fill... I have a completely clean record and I wasn't driving recklessly, so he should have given me a warning. Instead I got hit with an $80 fine and 2 points which I can contest in court. Bah.

In other words, I don't feel bad about speeding because I am a safe, defensive driver and many of the speed limits are arbitrarily assigned or worse, arbitrarily enforced.

But I do feel bad when I get a speeding ticket. =(
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:December 19th, 2006 04:22 am (UTC)
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I got my very first speeding ticket on Friday and I cried.
I got my first speeding ticket a few years ago. I did not cry. You girl.

In other words, I don't feel bad about speeding because I am a safe, defensive driver and many of the speed limits are arbitrarily assigned or worse, arbitrarily enforced.
Yeah, one other thing we learned in driver's ed is that it's safest to Go with the Flow. So when everyone is going seventy, it's best for me to go seventy right along with them, or else I make the traffic pattern less smooth.

But I do feel bad when I get a speeding ticket. =(
I feel bad. But annoyed. Because, like, how many other times have I broken the law? And I get caught NOW? WHATEVER, LAW.
[User Picture]
From:zimshan
Date:December 19th, 2006 04:17 am (UTC)
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Now I've got The Clash's "Cheat" lyrics running through my head. (Don't use the rules/They're not for you, they're for the fools/And you're a fool if you don't know that/So use the rule you stupid fool)

Not like I can talk. I'm all goody-goody myself. But once I bought a VCR with the intent on returning it the next day. Just to tape the...VM finale I believe. Heh. But I still feel guilty about it. Even if the only reason why I was going to return it was because I didn't like any of the models Target had and I need a VCR for one quick hour but didnt' want to be stuck with a crappy one. Still.

So good for you paying for the envelope. But I can't pass any judgment on the charger. ;)

And to take a stab at answering your q: We have rules to minimize chaos. Disorder. ENTROPY! Even though it's fruitless because ENTROPY IS ALWAYS INCREASING. It's obvious rule-making people never paid any attention to thermochemistry...
[User Picture]
From:capnnick
Date:December 19th, 2006 04:24 am (UTC)
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What bugs me about speeding is that the system depends on deviance. If people don't speed, the community government loses an important revenue source. I think it would be much better to allow people to drive at reasonable speeds and fund local governments through taxes rather than perpetuate this bizarre game that essentially depends on both sides trying to pull one over on the other.

It reminds me of the state lotteries. People won't fund their schools, so they set up a lottery company which absorbs over 50% of the revenue (plus prize payouts) to do it for them. To me it would seem more reasonable to have everyone pay a little bit more and cut out this beast of a middleman.

Granted, both speeding tickets and lottery tickets can be avoided with a little work. But, I don't like the idea behind them, the idea of tricking people into supporting their communities rather than having them serve directly. I think that's the spirit behind a lot of the legal craziness and the rationale for the little law-bending we do every day. Our neighbors have become our opponents.
[User Picture]
From:sabra_n
Date:December 19th, 2006 04:36 am (UTC)
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Small things do matter. When we think of moral choices, it's so easy to think of them as dramatic things like obeying DNRs or lying in court, but we make moral choices every day almost without realizing it. So yes, small things matter; they're part of a lifetime habit of doing the right thing.

Whether "the right thing" is always in accordance in with the rules is another matter altogether. We need good rules that are correct nearly all of the time to keep order, but wisdom is knowing when it's right to break them. That's something only learned with experience.

(And re: the Circuit City thing. You have to think about how you define right and wrong. Context matters, but what you're actually doing matters more.)

-blue
[User Picture]
From:jeeperstseepers
Date:December 19th, 2006 05:05 am (UTC)
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So I bought one from Circuit City. With the intent to use it for a week and then return it.

The only time I did anything at all like that is when I bought the iPod radio attachment and used it for a week or so and then returned it. But I would never have done that if the guy in the Apple Store hadn't told me to. I was hesitant to buy it because I didn't know if I'd really need it and how much I'd actually use it, so he told me to just play with it for a while and return it if I didn't want to keep it. I was all, "I can do that? Even if there's nothing wrong with it? I can just take it, play, and give it back?" He assured me that it was no problem.

But when I needed a charger for a trip, it never entered my mind to do that. First thing I did was ask around to borrow someone's for a few days.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:December 19th, 2006 05:09 am (UTC)
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Most people at work can barely figure out how to use an iPod Shuffle, let alone buy a travel charger.
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From:soleta_nf
Date:December 19th, 2006 05:08 am (UTC)
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Is that you singing? O.O
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From:spectralbovine
Date:December 19th, 2006 05:10 am (UTC)
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No, James Hetfield came over for dinner.
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From:glasseseater
Date:December 19th, 2006 05:50 am (UTC)
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man, I have to say don't do it. opened electonics can't be resold, so they just get thrown away. I know one thing doesn't seem like a lot, but when I worked at target I'd have 20 or 30 returns a day that were probably perfectly good merchandise that people got rid off because they were cheap and lazy, and that was one person in one retail store on one day. the waste was just phenomenal. And I realize that you're a generally thrifty person but it seems like you have a reasonably well paying job now and it's not going to hurt you to suck it up just this once.
And as far is cheating the big corporations, loss gets taken out of hourly wage employees raises and the number of hours they get every week.

obviously that's just how I feel.
[User Picture]
From:sterope
Date:December 19th, 2006 07:30 am (UTC)
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I'm going home for a week on Wednesday too! One of these days I should seriously make a voice post. I always want to, but I never get around to it.
[User Picture]
From:catatonia00
Date:December 19th, 2006 12:17 pm (UTC)
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Dude, you had me cracking up so hard. I just did my first voicepost elsewhere the other day and dedicated a song to my friend. But it was nothing nearly as amusing or cracktastic as yours.

People may bend, alter, make up rules. But awareness is key IMO. At least you had that momentary crisis of conscience. Not enough people experience that anymore. They just act without thinking.

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