A code dictates a man’s actions. It is the filter through which one runs his thoughts to strain out the the impurities. But you can live your whole life and not know that your code has been wrong all along. Suddenly you’re faced a situation you thought you were familiar with, but the outcome doesn’t seem to match up with what you expected. It can change your whole world.
For example, I lived my entire life thinking it was unacceptable to pick your nose. For years I would guiltily retreat to a secluded bathroom stall and furiously try to blow the buggers out with all the wind I had inside me. As a last resort I would fish inside to remove the stubborn, hardened nuggets. The guilt was unbearable. And when someone would accuse me of picking my nose, I was mortified. I would sooner admit to scratching my ass in public than ever concede that my finger had passed the threshold of my nostril. The itch I would argue was only at the base of my nose, and to even imply that I had picked my nose in public was slander.
But now I am a man, and the things I have learned about life I hope to one day pass on to my son or daughter so that they won’t experience the unnecessary shame that I did. As long as no one is looking, they can dig in there till they find treasure. They must wash their hands of course, after and sometimes before, but they shall never have fear of judgement when their nose is full of snot rocks.
While I’m on the subject, there are other codes ingrained into us during childhood that need to be revisited. Some still stand like obeying state and federal laws. For some that should be reinforced. There are some rules though that are conditional. For example: asking a woman her age. I was told as a boy you should never do that because it is rude. What I now realize is that it’s just disconcerting and it makes all people, not just women, uncomfortable when you just fire off personal questions out the gate. In a certain context it is acceptable to ask someone their age, like if they mention an historical event they were present for, but outside of that people will start to get anxious like you’re compiling information so you can steal their identity or something. Another example: running indoors. You may now as an adult at any point you like run inside a building. This rule is conditional because adults generally have a reason to be running. You don’t see adults break into a sprint unless they’re trying to play off that they almost tripped. It’s a good idea though to be aware of any children present, as they will take your rule breaking as a sign that the ban has been lifted and the danger of punishment is no more. If you are seen, make this into a teaching moment, because one of the most important lessons I didn’t learn until much later was that adults are the ones allowed to break the rules because they made them.
Finally, of all the codes that should be tossed out, I submit the rule about eating candy before supper. Ten out of ten grandmother agree that consuming sugary snacks before a meal will ruin your dinner. Well grandmas, I’ve done the research and as it turns out, sugar actually stimulates the appetite by slowing down the communication between your full stomach and your brain. If you have sugar, you will eat more. So, in your faces, abuelas. This grown man is going to have two Snickers bars AND a Dr. Pepper before the meal. And love it.
P.S. Don’t sass your grandmas. That one’s still legit.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “I Walk the Line.”