If You Open it, Close it
My mom always had newspaper clippings, articles, comics and other helpful little items stuck to the refrigerator, giving it the messy appearance of LSD-inspired collage wallpaper. Many of them fluttered hopefully if you walked by fast enough, as if they were reaching out in a silent plea to be read. The truth is, there was so much stuff on that fridge that it was nearly impossible for the human eye to focus on any two words that might actually be part of the same sentence, thus ironically preventing any of us girls from actually absorbing any of the proffered wisdom.
With one exception. “The Rules,” a sheet which morphed into numerous incarnations throughout the years but which always held a place of honor on top of everything else, in the middle of the door. The Rules alone were clearly legible – not that it helped, because it really wasn’t until we all grew up and out of the home that we actually started living by them (again, the irony is crushing):
- If you open it, close it.
- If you turn it on, turn it off.
- If you break it, repair it.
- If you can’t fix it, call someone who can.
- If you borrow it, return it.
- If you make a mess, clean it up.
- If you use it, take care of it.
- If you move it, put it back.
- If it belongs to somebody else and you want to use it, get permission.
- If you don’t know how to operate it, leave it alone.
- If it doesn’t concern you, don’t mess with it.
I recently came across a set of The Rules in a totally random place, and decided to make a copy for the Savvy refrigerator:
Yes, I know my artistic abilities are stunning. I am especially proud of the clip art image of a bespectacled bulldog studying what appears to be a serious textbook. Visual beauty aside, my set of The Rules are a straightforward formula for a courteous and respectful way of life.
I just hope my kids take them to heart a lot quicker than I did.