Friday, 15 January 2010

"Rules is rules.'

We've all experienced the aggravation of arbitrary rules. Somebody somewhere decided some things either could or couldn't be done and nobody knows what the reasons were. "We've always done it that way," is the answer most often given when questions arise. This is especially frustrating to children as they think in concrete, not abstract, terms. In my Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School) memoir, I wrote of those times when my ideas of common sense collided with the hidebound regulations of its administrators. Here is a brief excerpt from it.

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Jericho's rules appeared incredibly arbitrary to me. Mom ordered four inflatable toy whales from a special offer by a coffee company the previous autumn. Mom named my whale Max and wrote my name on his chin with an indelible marker. Then she packed him in my suitcase. When we went swimming one evening, I inflated Max in the changing room and headed for the water. Suddenly, Mrs. Parker bellowed, "Get that toy out of there! Toys aren't allowed in the pool."

"How come?"

"It's against regulations."

"Can't I just play with him a little?"

"Stop dawdling and do what I say."

I felt painfully disappointed. It seemed so unfair that the school's Styrofoam paddle boards were allowed in the water but my whale, specifically designed for use in a pool, was not. I shuffled into the changing room and reluctantly deflated Max. My beloved pool toy remained in the closet until my supervisor packed my suitcases the next summer.

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Deliverance from Jericho contains many more vignettes of what life was like in that government-run institution. These range from poignant experiences of homesickness to hilarious incidents of mischief. This 196-page paperback, containing 6 black and white photos, sells for $25.00 through the PayPal-equipped Inscribe writers group website. E-mail me for further information or if you don't have PayPal and still wish to place an order.