30 Rules to Live By
In a scene I just wrote (for Quantum Entity | the Successors), Bart (Bartholomew, future chief of the Hopi in exile, currently 21 years old) is talking with red-haired Holly Ruane (age 20, originally from Boston, her full name is Niamh Holly Ruane) about her son Des (Desmond, Dezzie) born as a result of a rape committed when she was a teen. Holly and Bart are both trying to teach Des some rules to live by to help him grow up to be someone his community trusts and respects– anything other than being like his biological father (owner of the San Francisco-based Club Les de Sades) will be an improvement.
Here’s the scene along with 30 rules to live by compiled by Bartholomew:
“I’ve got a copybook for Dezzie to work on when he gets home,” Bart says to Holly.
“Can I see it?”
She looks amazing to Bart. Her red hair has come back just like the doc said it would. Everything’s come back except her zest for life. She’s faking it all the time. Bart can tell.
She sees that he has handwritten 30 Rules to Live By in his workbook which is the kind people used to use in Grade 1 before media walls and tablets took over. His handwriting is surprisingly neat and he’s underlined words he wants to go over with Des that he thinks are especially important.
1. Be a person others can trust
2. Believe in something greater than yourself
3. Be a good team member
4. Trust your instinct, your heart and your mind
5. Don’t be a phony
6. Tell the truth
7. Don’t place your trust in false prophets
8. Live healthy
9. Don’t swear or lose your temper
10. Find time for family
11. Honor elders
12. Remember the Golden Rule—do unto others as you would have them do unto you
13. Avoid seven deadly sins—pride (vanity), envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed and sloth
14. Give people a second but not a third chance
15. Be a good Samaritan
16. Make no acts of commission
17. Don’t hurt anyone or through inaction allow anyone to be hurt
18. Love your family
19. Be humble
20. Leave every place better than you found it
21. Don’t steal
22. Seek knowledge
23. Never panic
24. Love your neighbor as you would yourself.
25. Be positive and have a sense of humor
26. Be patient
27. Lead by example
28. Surround yourself with positive people
29. Take care of yourself and your family so you don’t become a burden on anyone else
30. Stick together
After a couple of pages filled with his 30 rules, Bart has drawn pictures as well as written out stories to underline the above lessons for Des and himself to go over together.
For example, to help Dezzie understand no. 23, he’s written—
If there are 350 people in a theater (that’s where people used to go see movies, Des) and a sudden fire breaks out, two things can happen. People can both panic and die or they can stay calm and live.
Say, some of the big guys with booming voices and strong females (like your mom, Des!) suddenly stand up and say, “We seem to be having a bit of trouble here. Everyone be calm, please. Here, make way, make way. Women and children first.”
Some of big guys will get to the exit doors first but instead of running away, they’ll hold them open even as smoke and heat become nearly impossible to bear—they will stay there unto death if they have to. Other leaders will be reminding people (nicely) to queue up.
This way, probably 335 people in that theater will survive!
Contrast this with what would happen in a culture where lawlessness, panic, self interest or might-makes-right takes over, Dezzie. It’s every person for himself or herself! In that case, the largest, strongest people panic, run pell mell for the exits, followed by all the others who in their rush to flee pile up behind them and against the doors which unfortunately in many places open inwards.
The crush of humanity against these doors seals them in as if they were welded shut! People start climbing over each other trying to get out; weaker ones are pushed down in the stampede and start being crushed to death. They won’t die from smoke inhalation or fire! They’ll die from suffocation and other injuries sustained in a big pileup. So now maybe 15 of the fastest, strongest men and women in that theater survive but 335 kids, women and smaller men will all be dead. Don’t let that be your tribe, Desmond. 🙂 B
“That’s rather gruesome for a six year old, don’t you think?” she says smiling at him so he knows she appreciates what he’s trying to do for her son.
“He can handle it. Ever read any of Grimm’s Fairy Tales?”
“Imagine a mother who tells her hubbie to go into the woods then reminds him to take his ax but not to chop firewood. Oh no. It’s to kill his kids.”
“She was their stepmother not their mom.”
“And that makes a difference how?” He’s hurt when she says this since the thought has occurred to him that he might consider auditioning for a similar role for himself with Desmond. He can’t help himself—he looks up at her from where he is sitting with a wounded look on his face but her eyes slide away.
“Des’ll have no problem with number 26,” Holly says changing the subject (sort of). She knows her son has an immense patience for anything he happens to be interested in.
Bart smiles, “What about the other 28?”
“That’ll take more time.”
Bart wonders if she is talking about Desmond or herself. Bartholomew has all the time in the world—for her.
Books available from: https://www.brucemfirestone.com/quantum-entity/
The women and girls of Quantum Entity Trilogy, names and roles–[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1WtJEnsewg]
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