Bending the Rules

The small benefits to working the “system” in my favor make my toes curl in delight. I know a couple people who can conjure a first class airline ticket out of thin air, who can walk into a concert at Carnegie Hall and pick whatever seat they wish to sit in, and the person who can decide that they will not wait in line, but just saunter past all the other saps and enter wherever they want to go at their own time. I have never considered myself one of those people, but I really admire their pluck.

I guess, to call it “cheating” would be wrong, I think the best name to call these people would be “entrepreneurs”. These people look at the lines on a grid and decide they don’t want to follow them. Then, after quickly summing up the possible pros and cons of doing what everyone else is doing and doing what they want to do, they decide to not waste their time by getting in line with the rest of the dopes. They find a curve, a loophole, and then exploit it.

One of the first times I realized that the “system” we live in is all a construct of laws that “should” be followed, my mind was blown. But, that didn’t mean I had the balls to be a rogue player. I was raised to believe that those who are patient: win. My buddy was telling me a story of how he walked into a hockey game, the cheapest ticket he could purchase in his pocket (just to get him in the door) and then proceeded to pick out the box seats by the front of the rink and sit in them throughout the whole game, unmolested. After the game was done, his first class dinner ordered and eaten, he got up, walked out and went home. No one questioned him. No one asked him for his seat. He did it over and over.

I have another buddy who told me that for eleven years in a row he got first class round trip tickets to go back and visit home on the West Coast because he hand wrote a letter to the airline he was flying every year and told them a stewardess “accidentally” spilled some coffee on his pants. The airline, totally apologetic, would then issue him a sorry letter along with a free first class ticket. The only reason my buddy stopped getting that deal was because the airline merged with another and he didn’t have the same way to contact anyone like he used to.

What’s involved with bending the rules? Is it a straight face? A squaring of the shoulders? If I looked confident and uninterested in what was going on around me, would anyone think to question my motives? My problem is, I blush bright red and laugh really loud when I’m nervous. Plus, I have a terrible “Keep it Cool” face. My “Keep it Cool” face looks like I’m trying not to fart. Because I probably am. How could that face make someone think I’m up to no good?

I do have an advantage in being a pretty white girl, though. There have been times when a group of friends and I have been pulled over by a cop and all I had to do was flash my smile and bat my eyes and then get off scotch free for the obvious speeding we were clearly guilty of. So, I’m not totally without cunning. But, what a skill. To be able to find a loophole and use it. To skip the line. To create something that works out of nothing. Is that why there are CEO’s and Presidents and Famous people? Those who are patient can¬†win. Yes. Those who walk through barriers and take big risks can fail, epically, but those who can do it successfully end up running the rules, no?

March 23, 2013 at 12:04 am by Natalie Allen