You exit the womb.

Life begins.

So much has gone into you becoming a human being. You think to yourself “how lucky I am. I’m grateful to be alive. Time to have some fun.”

I don’t know if it’s your first life or #152, but the odds of you remembering your previous lives are pretty slim. You have to learn everything from scratch. Even coordinating movement is a huge challenge.

But you’re a warrior. You can do anything you want. Your brain is seeking to learn. To explore.

Until you hear the following word:

S.T.O.P.

Did you really think we would let you have an easy life? Of course not. We’re adults. We know better. We will teach you everything. Don’t worry. And if there’s something we don’t know, there’s always Wikipedia and Youtube. Lucky you!

Chapter 1: Our home, Your home

We build houses, because we hate the rain. And by doing so we took extra care to make it super dangerous for children. Let’s explore your first life lessons:

  • Don’t touch the plug, you might electrocute yourself! Yes we put them at your level to tease you. We picked the most dangerous thing to put in front of your eyes, otherwise it wouldn’t be fun.
  • Hmm the knife… I don’t think so!
  • No! This cool vibrating gadget is not for kids…
  • Beer? You wish!
  • Beware of the tables, we build them with pointy edges!
  • Water is precious, stop flushing the toilet! Just watch the water flow while I’m brushing my teeth.
  • Let me put bars around your bed. You never know, raccoons may come and eat you! And seeing you in a cage is kinda entertaining.
  • Eat this with a fork. No for that you need a spoon!
  • I see you lurking at that glass. Here’s one made of plastic. Full of BPA, yay!
  • This toy is not recommended for kids under the age of 55. Sorry fellow, you might swallow those gigantic puzzle pieces.

Chapter 2: Social Interactions

Well home wasn’t a huge success for you. But don’t worry, part 2 of your journey is about social interactions. You’ve just learned to walk and are able to say a few words: car, water and poo. That’s plenty of words to have a conversation. Time to socialize. Your first encounters:

  • Be gentle, your friend might be made out of ceramic. Human beings are fragile, you ought to manipulate them with care.
  • Give him some space. Everyone is entitled to their personal space. 1 meter, give or take, is a good space to keep between you and your mates.
  • Shhhhhsh. Don’t be so loud otherwise I won’t be able to hear the constant buzz of the nearby driving cars.
  • Running? Not today. I’m 32 years old you know. Let’s take it slow. Pura Vida.
  • Jumping? Can’t you be like anyone else? Walking silently, staring at the ground and thinking about your retirement plans? (43 years to go, yay!)
  • Please share all your toys with your friends! Your belongings are for everyone to enjoy. Once you’ll be an adult, you’ll be able to keep your adult stuff for yourself.
  • He hit you? Go apologize for making him act like that. Be the bigger man.
  • Don’t talk to adults like that. Have some respect. Once you’ll turn 18 you’ll become a superior being as well.
  • F*ck… What did you say? It’s not because your dad says something that it’s ok for you to say. Please refer to the point of me being a superior human being.

Chapter 3: School is so much Fun!

How did those interactions go? Great? The real fun begins now. It’s time to go to school. You just turned 3. You can talk and walk. Your brain is still immature? Don’t worry, as I’ve said. Everything is going to fix itself with time. Being an adult is great. You’ll see.

Monday 6 am.

Time to wake up.

You’re in the middle of a dream? Not my problem. We have to go. Oh there are some rules to follow in order to avoid anarchy but you’ll learn quickly.

  • Rule #1: Don’t be late! Life is about punctuality. The early bird catches the worm. All the other birds starved to death. Owls? An exception to the rule.
  • Rule #2: Sit down.
  • Rule #3: Sit still.
  • Rule #4: Be quiet.
  • Rule #5: Movement is only allowed during recess and sports.
  • Rule #6: Respect the other kids.
  • Rule #7: Show even more respect to the superior beings, the adults.
  • Rule #8: And even more to the teachers.
  • Rule #9: Draw inside the square.
  • Rule #10: Think inside the box.
  • Rule #11: No creativity allowed except during arts class where you have to draw where told.
  • Rule #12: Always ask for permission.
  • Rule #13: You are not allowed to leave the premise outside of the specified times.
  • Rule #14: Follow the dress code.
  • Rule #15: You have a special request? Let your superior guide, aka parent, tell us.
  • Rule #16: Chips are considered veggies.
  • Rule #17: Eat your veggies. McCain is a big sponsor of the school.
  • Rule #18: Bringing a gun to school is not ok.

For the remaining 197 rules, please read the school manual and have it signed by your legal authority.

Chapter 4: Going out

And finally after a great day at school. Sitting 8 hours straight on a chair, drawing inside the squares, your parents have decided to have a family dinner in their favorite restaurant. Tonight is your favorite show on TV. Well too bad. But don’t worry, you’ll be an adult in 14 years. Restaurants are great. You don’t have to cook, nor do the dishes. Less chores for your parents. You still have to clean your room though. After some fun at home, at the park and at school, you’ll get to go out. You should be grateful.

  • 3 Forks, 3 Knives, 2 Spoons. You figure it out. Don’t get it wrong though.
  • 5 pages of food items for the adults. 3 items for the kids. Daddy knows best what you want.
  • Chicken nuggets, chips and a coke. You’re lucky. You love animals? Well here they are in your plate. Don’t worry it’s mostly residue of chicken. It’s hardly definable. Fats and sugar. Perfect, winter is approaching.
  • You’re done? Well, we’re having a great time so be quiet and wait.
  • Why do you have to make up a scene? If we’re going out it’s also for you.
  • Be grateful.
  • You want to play with your toys? Not in a restaurant. In a restaurant you sit and eat. Enjoy the sitting time.

Maybe it’s time to say yes?

Don’t get me wrong. Some rules are important. But it feels like we keep adding rules about everything. We are becoming less and less tolerant. This mother is breastfeeding? OMG a boob, I feel offended!

Did you know that you are not permitted to drink plain water in the subway in Singapore?

Drinking plain water, or any beverage for that matter, is not permitted because the beverage could spill and wet seats, soil other commuters’ belongings or cause a fellow commuter to slip and fall.

SMRT TRAINS WEBSITE

Or that in Enland, it is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament?

Or that urinating in the ocean is against the law in Portugal?

It’s crazy, right? I pee in the ocean all the time…

Anyway, what better way is there to kill curiosity and creativity than forbid a kid to explore its surroundings. Let him burn himself, it’ll teach him about fire. All those rules are creating a generation of robots. Robots spending all their “free” time on LifeSuckingBook.com ®

And don’t get me even started on our “great” school system… I’ll keep that for another post. In the meantime, here’s a great TED talk on the subject.

Now I’d love to hear, what are your favorite rules?

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