A Light Heart and Cowpath Rules

September 1, 2004 | one comment
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How are you today? Fine, I trust? Good, good. I will now pontificate.

Christ warned the pharisees that tithing cummin, and anise, and mint wouldn?t weigh very much in the balance against their faithlessness and mercilessness. No arguments here. But I confess I always get sidetracked reading that passage. I think about working a few of my overripe tomatoes into a tithing envelope. Or giving the Church a cut of our Visiting Teacher Rice Krispie treats. Tithing with exactness sounds like a real hoot.

Let?s agree that serious things aren?t to be treated with lightmindedness. I suggest that light things, trivial commandments, minor rights and wrongs, should be so treated. Not ignored, not disparaged?given their due, but in humor. Here are two examples of what I mean, trivial areas of life in which I?ve elaborated rules over the years based on serious justifications like respect for growing things and loving one?s neighbors. The contrast in these rules between the serious justifications and their trivial application is just too much, so they always put me in a good humor. I hope they will strike you the same.

Here are the examples:

Cowpaths
? Cowpaths, by which I mean trails worn across grass by frequent use, are unsightly, kill growing things, and disrespect gardeners and landscapers.

? Don?t use any portion of a cowpath unless the grass in it is entirely dead.
? Even if the dead parts are muddy.
? And don?t use a cowpath at all if there?s a sign up.
? Walking on perfectly healthy grass is OK, if not near a cowpath.
? But, if accompanying someone who swings onto a cowpath, better to tag along then irritate them by ostentatiously keeping on.

Truly, rules to live by.

Urinals
? Men generally take the first urinal they come to.
? But they?ll go to any length to have an empty urinal between them and the next occupied urinal.
? And they have a mild preference for two urinals between them and the next occupied urinals.

? Always leave an odd number of spaces between you an occupied urinal.
? If there are a number of urinals open, choose a urinal which allows the maximum urinal use (i.e., if there are five urinals, choose one, three, or five).
? If there are a number of urinals open, choose the second permissible urinal from the door.

Go and do thou likewise.

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Real Pontification
Yes, I know it’s (mostly) silly to have these rules, but I have them and I keep them and it amuses me when I do. It’s a little pleasure. Taking little questions of right and wrong entirely seriously would be a real mistake. So would taking oneself so seriously that one is afraid of injury to one’s dignity in applying moral judgment to little things. The happy medium is to try to do right in little things and laugh at oneself for so doing.

I wonder if careful courtesy lightens my spirits for the same reason that my cowpath rules do. Certainly when I contemplate the celestial world, where every mind is at one and every interaction therefore is largely predetermined and perforce mannerly (as seen in the temple), I get this giddy sense of glee that is very much the same.

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One Response to A Light Heart and Cowpath Rules

  1. Kaimi on September 3, 2004 at 9:50 pm

    [Pasted in from prior thread]

    Adam,

    Others have developed your ideas about men and urinals into a little test. Men’s restroom etiquette is more complex than some would believe…

    http://www.drinknation.com/urinaltest.php

    Comment by: Ryan S. at September 1, 2004 06:42 PM

    Where the grass doth grow, a cowpath it is not. (Like dirt in a hole in the ground.)

    I prefer to punish any grass that chooses to grow on the cowpath by walking directly on it. Else what are we to do but widen the cowpath (by walking along its side) or make new cowpaths?

    Comment by: Derek at September 1, 2004 07:20 PM

    Drinknation’s rules are entirely selfish. Bleah.

    Comment by: Adam Greenwood at September 1, 2004 08:01 PM

    Jerry Seinfeld made his millions by developing cowpath rules (although his were generally not based on any particular fundamental principles).

    Comment by: Bryce I at September 1, 2004 11:18 PM

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