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The main character on NCIS, Jethro Gibbs, has 69 rules that we know of (although evidently only 35 have been spelled out on the show during it's 16 seasons -- and counting).  The rules have become so popular you can get them on T-shirts, coasters, mouse pads... just about anything. 

My life is less interesting than Gibbs'... I only have three rules and one corollary that define a happy life.  And yet, I find myself breaking my own rules all too frequently.  It's like the song lyric from the now cancelled Nashville TV show: 'I lose my keys, I lose my cool /I never learn, it's like I'm back in school / I end up breaking all my rules / Every time I fall in love' except I don't need to fall in love to break my rules when I suffer all too frequent moments of weakness. Well not Rule 2.  That would be bad.

Rule 1: Never engage with assholes.

Pardon my language, but that is my rule.  The thing is, when we are really angry with someone we have an impulse to get in the last dig, or to score points, or to just set things right.  But I have learned that any response whatsoever to that sort of person reliably results in an escalation on their part.  There is nothing I can say or do that will make them see reason, or, at the very least, act reasonably.  Every time I break this rule I want to smack myself on the back of my head, like Gibbs does to someone on his team when they do something dumb.  Because however bad it was before, it's ten times worse after engaging with... well, you know...

Yet I find myself breaking this rule over and over, in the sense of Einstein's theory of insanity (doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result).

I don't think we were especially blessed when they invented human nature.

Rule 2: Never let the cats out.

We live around coyotes.  I like cats.  The coyote word for 'cat' is 'lunch'.

We're down to only one cat now (not because of coyotes). I never let her out, and we still have her, so this rule really works.  Yay me, for following one of my rules.

Rule 3
: Never own more house than you want to vacuum.

I think we all break this rule, because, let's be honest, does anyone really like to vacuum?  Well, that's not true. My Great Aunt Edith was an insomniac who would get up in the middle of the night and vacuum.  Her signature item was delicious jelly rolls, which I always thought were baking in the middle of the night while she vacuumed.  Any time there was an event that she came to, she came bearing jelly rolls.  She was a truly wonderful woman.  We all loved Aunt Edie. And her floors were spotless!

Corollary: However much you own is how much will break

I call this a corollary because it kind of vaguely follows from Rule 3, yet isn't itself a rule one can follow.  It's just something that happens.  Repeatedly.

I think we have all pretty much come to the same conclusion.  Lately the blackouts in Lansing have been proving my corollary by frying our electronics.  At my house a camera fell victim, and the electric mattress cover control has been flashing "E" for error, which makes me think I am going to fry in my sleep some time soon.  I read a number of complaints on on Facebook by Lansingites who have lost electronic devices including a washing machine... or was it a dishwasher...

Last year our roof broke.  We fixed it at great expense, and then someone broke it again by dropping a tree on it. This bloody corollary is a big pain in the (see rule 1 for what it is a pain in).

You own it, it will break.  Guaranteed.

It makes you wonder why everyone buys so much stuff.

The truth is, I have found that I truly am happy when I follow my rules.  They really work!  So you would think that it shouldn't be hard to stick to three measly rules when Gibbs steadfastly sticks to almost 70 of them. 

I guess it's easier for fictional characters than it is for actual people.

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