I’ve been watching a lot of NCIS lately. Too much, really, given the amount of work I have to do, and even more the amount of languages I have to do it in. Anyway, I also saw Zombieland recently, I’ve enjoyed the occasional episode of My Name Is Earl, and I owned the book 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter before the show was even pitched. I’ve noticed that people really like to make up lists of rules, and I’ve gotta say it’s not a bad idea. Some of the rules fit specific situations, some are good for general living, and some are just a bit out there, but the truth is that for the most part none are actually bad. I particularly like Gibbs’ rules (Columbus’ rules are decent, but sometimes too vague), as they’re pretty much all good practical advice, although some are a little too specific to criminal investigation (like rule #1: Never let suspects stay together). So, since I’ve been up all night for no particular reason, and I wound up writing on my new pad just to see if I could (it’s tiny, so I can keep it in my pocket, and I wanted to make sure it wasn’t too cramped), I’ve begun my own set of rules for life. I like to have a little humor and explanation in my rules, but I believe that most of them are appropriate for general living. Note that some of the explanations are true, but not necessarily the reason for the rule; these tend to be at least a bit tongue-in-cheek (cf. rr. 2, 4).

  1. Messy means stuff is all over the place. Disorganized means you don’t know where anything is. There is a difference… to a point.
  2. Never go anywhere without a pen: it’s your best way to open boxes.
  3. Never go anywhere without a knife.
  4. If you have paper, at least you have a way to wipe your ass.
  5. Connaissez-vous aux moins deux langues. Drei ist besser.
  6. Sometimes the best lockpick is a sledgehammer. Sometimes it’s a key. It’s never a lockpick.
  7. Insomnia is a medical condition caused by lack of sleep. It is not, in and of itself, a lack of sleep.
  8. Good diction and literacy are more useful than bad.
  9. [ɑ͡ɪˌpʰiː.eːˈɪz.jusˈfɫ̩]
  10. You may come up with your best ideas at 02:00, but also your worst. Don’t overwrite any files, and check it again when you’re rested.

Well, there you have it for now. I reworded some of these as I went, mostly for brevity, and I came up with the last three as I did this, so we’ll see how it goes as I come up with more. R. 5 is French for “Learn at least two languages,” followed by “Three is better,” in German. And, yes, “three is (drei ist),” not “three are (drei sind);” it may be splitting hairs, but here the subject is “drei,” not “drei Sprachen.” R. 9 is “IPA is useful,” written in the International Phonetic Alphabet (some adjustments made for the medium). I remembered, “Never go anywhere without a knife,” as being Gibbs’ r. 3 and put it there partly because I fully advocate that rule and partly as a tribute, but upon looking it up it’s actually rule #9. Oh well, maybe I’ll say my tribute has something to do with the three times three rule. And, finally, r. 6 doesn’t mean you should never use a lockpick: it may well be the fastest, easiest, or most readily at-hand solution, just not the best.


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