Yesterday I was very much struck by the extent to which we are surrounded by a myriad of rules that cover every moment of our lives.
We get up in the morning. Well, there’s a rule right there. Why not stay in bed ’til lunchtime? Or bedtime? If you stay in bed for a few days you must be sick. Otherwise, you’re probably a teenager, and you’re definitely breaking the rules. Get in the car. Put your seat-belt on. Another rule. Drive on the left, or the right. Another rule. Signal at corners. Another rule. Stop at traffic lights. Another one.
Then you arrive at work. Before you even walk through the door, you must follow the rules of the car park. Don’t park in the boss’s spot. Don’t park across two spaces. Do lock your door. Inside the office, you’re in rule paradise. Here, there are rules governing every aspect of every task. And just to be sure, more rules to tell you what those tasks should be.
You sit down at your desk (another rule, you can only sit down at your desk, not anyone else’s) and write an email. Now, are you following the correct rules of grammar? Are you sure you should be using a colon, and not a semi-colon? Have you capitalised Monday? And is your full-stop (or should that be full stop) in the right place?
I don’t know, but when there’s a rule to tell us exactly when to put a dot between two letters on a piece of paper, hasn’t it all gone too far?
This is what I’m trying to say. Two of the finest minutes of British television history.