While watching baseball a few weeks ago a kerfuffle started when Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels intentionally hit Washington Nationals right-fielder Bryce Harper with a pitch to “welcome him to the Major Leagues”. Within normal society throwing a nearly rock-solid projectile at 90 odd miles per hour at another human being represents assault but within the constructs of baseball doing so just represents one of many unwritten rules. I’ve always thought the practice of purposely putting a runner on base via hitting them with a damn ball on purposed was completely idiotic. Then again idiocy and baseball often wake up in bed together not remembering what happened.[i]
Unwritten rules like this spill over into the avenues of everyday life all of the time. Some make sense while some are just silly. Some are for you own protection. (Don’t look Prince Rogers Nelson directly in the eye. Never spend too much time on Martin Luther King Blvd in any city. Never write down the orders for a “code red”. Don’t trust them new *****s [Yes, the ones over there].) For whatever the myriad of reasons are unwritten rules are always going to be with us.
Unfortunately some of the unwritten guidelines of the world bother me. Usually these rules are arbitrary and illogical but carry actually have real life consequences. People can and will get mad. They will Catch feelings. Prayer circles will be called. Poop will be flung while they generalize like school children. Then finally, mothers will be spoken of in an less than flattering manner.
The list is less than impressive but it’s oh so real.
One cannot ever, ever, ever in their long-legged life make any type of critical comments about what black people need to do whether it is a positive or a negative. It doesn’t matter if it’s true, false, or if it is a point of self-improvement. You just can’t do it.
You can’t speak ill about Barack or [insert historical figure here]. We know how this ends don’t we? If you are overly critical about someone’s sacred cow you will be castigated into
Bolivian oblivion. I have no problems when critical analysis is rooted in actual facts but if it’s baseless poop flinging then I do agree that folks need to chill.
At some point in the last 25 years a series of unwritten rules were spread from upon high. It created a sad shift as to how children are dealt with and act in public. WORST. THING. EVER![ii] They are as follows A. No sensible adult can check an unruly child in public. Little Timmy or Man-Man could be running amok with a back hoe in the parking lot of the Costco and you better not say sh*t! Only his mommy can correct him. B. Children don’t have to mind adults any more. They don’t have to say “Sir”, “Ma’am”, or even move out of an adult’s path while walking. (And you better not say anything to them about it either. see item A.) They are all so precious.
While children were becoming untouchable during the last two and a half decades something else happened; dumb became cool. Once dumb became cool an unwritten rule stating that you can’t check folks for being dumb on purpose any more.[iii] You immediately get labeled as a “hater” or something. Your existence is then erased as if you angered the leadership in Stalin’s Russia or North Korea.
An extremely troubling rule (To me anyway.) regards manners and common decency. In our current society it would seem that chivalry, home-training, and overall kindness do not matter anymore. Doors will not be opened or held. Hands will not be washed. Cell phone conversations will not be paused at the drive the cash register. Mouths will not be covered while coughing. Inside voices are all but left in the car while in the supermarket. Inconsiderate is the new black. (Or at least the new charcoal gray.)
A rule stating that black people shouldn’t eat chicken in front of white people or other non-blacks is now floating around out there. I became aware of this after reading Baratunde Thurston’s hilarious book “How to Be Black” and talking to some other educatedish/ equally youngish black people.[iv] Personally I scoff at it. I will consume chicken in front of anyone, at anytime, or place. I will destroy a yard bird with vengeance simultaneously while savoring it.
I guess I sound like a grumpy arse old man don’t I?
If you’re bored then conduct a little sociology experiment. Take the time and notice what odd but unwritten things we do. Think about how and why it’s acceptable. A lot of this stuff flirts with being socially wrong, although some of its hilarious, and some of it is just makes you not want to make eye contact with anyone in Wal-Mart. What unwritten rules puzzle the hell out of y’all making you ask “How is that okay?”
Vaya con Dios.
[i] If baseball were a dude it would be Michael Fassbender’s character from Shame. Shame was a complete waste of an hour and forty minutes.
[ii] Not really the worst. Mayo, golf, and atomic weapons suck much more. I just happen to be prone to hyperbole at the moment. (see poop flinging)
[iii] I’m dumb but I’m not trying to be dumb. I just am. I want to be better… honest I do.
[iv] I totally just made up the word “educatedish”.