John Walker's Electronic House

Rules Update

by on Jan.08, 2006, under Rules

More guides for living.

(Oh, and a note to everyone who keeps telling me I’m too miserable and grumpy. Most of these Rules are now being suggested by other people. I’m just telling the people what the people want the people to know).

#26 You call people the name they tell you. If someone is introduced as ‘Nicholas’, then they’re ‘Nicholas’, and not ‘Nick’, until they tell you they can be. And by the way, this goes for countries too. What on earth is with this crazed renaming of nations into our own tongue? Really, we’re still not at a point where we can show enough respect to call a country by the name the people who live in the country call it?

England: No no no, it’s sweet that you think you’re called ‘Deutschland’, but actually it’s ‘Germany’. You know, as in ‘Germanic’.

Deutschland: Well, we’re doing fine with Deutschland.

England: Aw, how endearing. Well, that’s nice and all, but it’s Germany.

#27 If you don’t have everything with you that you need in order to smoke, you don’t get to smoke. Bring what you need for your ridiculous behaviour when you go out. Really – you smoke, but you don’t have a means of setting the thing on fire? Really?

#28 You leave a message on the second call. Any third calls in a row will now cause instant disease. If you need to get hold of someone, such that it would warrant needing to phone them three times in one half hour, you leave a damn message on the second failed attempt. What’s your plan? Wear them down? They’re not answering because they want to see if you really mean it? OR MAYBE THEY’RE BUSY AND CAN’T ANSWER THE PHONE.

#29 Don’t ask people, “Could you remind me to…” Just remember for yourself. Someone doesn’t become accountable for your continued possession of margarine simply because you said to them, “Could you remind me to get margarine?” Here’s who having margarine is important to: you. So stop passing the responsibility for running the minutiae of your life onto those around you, and just write it down on a piece of paper. Yourself.

#30 Which means it’s actually ok to make the lame-ass joke as follows:

Lazy person: Could you remind me to get more matches?
Innocent person: Remember to get more matches.

Yes, it’s not funny at all. But it’s punishment for breaking Rule #29.

#31 While using a mobile phone, you are never to discuss the mobile phone you are using.

#32 You’re not allowed to use the word ‘actually’ any more. You never, ever need it. It’s a wasted word, a waste of everyone’s time. Scientists have shown that the average person uses the word ‘actually’ over 70,000 times a year, wasting 45 hours which could otherwise be used to scream at people who say ‘actually’. I expect. As for ‘basically’… Are you using those toenails?

21 Comments for this entry

  • VP KM

    I don’t think you’re grumpy. I just didn’t like your decision to kill us all!

  • Haarball

    So this is botherism, right?

  • Adam

    I totally agree about the countries lark. I regularly call Munchen Munchen, and am scorned by my peers. They’re all fools.

  • Kowalski

    I don’t agree with #26. Whilst it would obviously do no harm to refer to a country in it’s native tongue I think you should look as, say, Germany as the English for Deutschland regardless of the origins of the word ‘Germany’.

    If you were speaking in ‘German’ then the word Deutschland would be used but you’re not, you speak in English so you use the English term for Deutschland.

    My name is Stephen yet if I were to go to France I’d be called Stefan, I don’t believe I should take offense as that’s the French pronunciation of Stephen.

  • The Incredible Bohemian

    This doesn’t sound like your usual level of hilarious grumpiness though, Mr W. I don’t think your heart’s in these ones…

  • admin

    Well Stefan, you’re wrong. Turn yourself in.

  • Steve W

    It may be the case that these have mostly been suggested by other people, but it still doesn’t stop your being wrong about umbrellas, for example. Many a drenching has been averted by my careful placement underneath the folds of one held by my g/f (albeit with a little comical crouching on my part; she is quite short). You should not rule out the use of them altogether; as with all things they are only dangerous when in the hands of stupid people, people who hold them like the weapons you seem to think they are. Umbrellas don’t kill people, people kill people.

    Perhaps a licensing system with a difficult two stage test (written theory and a practical) could be devised to ensure they are only used by people with the gumption to be aware of the effect on their environment. Only if you pass a strict background check and then fail to poke anyone in the eye while in a crowded outdoor market will you be allowed to carry one unfurled.

    Or you could carefully regulate their design, to ensure umbrellas with certain dangerous characteristics are banned from the market. Of course, the problem with this is that unscrupulous manufacturers would simply modify said design slightly, claiming it as a new product and thus avoiding the ban.

    Right, I’m done; this metaphor won’t stretch much further…

  • admin

    I originally conceived a plan for a licencing system with a test, but I abandoned this in favour of a complete ban, with good reason.

    As you imply, it’s much like handguns. You could spend a thousand years devising a test that aims to ensure only those appropriate and trustworthy might own one, but it still remains that you’re allowing a lethal weapon in the street. The sensible solution is a total ban on handguns, as no one needs them, and therefore no one should own one.

    Your argument that an umbrella has prevented you from getting wet, and should therefore be acceptable, is ludicrous. You might as well argue that a broad sword has proved a useful letter opener, and so you should be allowed to swing it widly around your head as you walk down the road.

    The fact is, no matter how carefully you might operate your umbrella, it remains sticking out over a foot either side of your shoulders, and thus, in rainy conditions, you occupy a ludicrous amount of pavement space, and endanger all around you with those spikes.

    Oh, and here’s another thing. YOU CAN GET WET.

  • VP KM

    Nuh-uh, they say I’d melt!

  • Steve W

    Yes, yes, we all know about your, um, precipiphilia, especially where lightning’s invited along too, and yes, there is something strangely invigorating about standing outdoors in the middle of a fierce storm now and again.

    However, let me ask you something. It’s your wedding day, you’re wearing the smartest, most flattering suit you’ve ever worn. Your hair is oddly perfect. The uphill path to the church entrance is some way from the road and the car has already sped off. A vicious downpour begins and you didn’t bring a raincoat. Do you:

    a) run spastically towards the church in a vain attempt to avoid a drenching and end up looking like a wet, sweaty fool for the remainder of the ceremony?


    b) take up the kind offer of the use of an umbrella by a kindly passerby, walk calmly towards the church and invite the Good Samaritan to the reception for a cheese sandwich?

    Oh, and you should look a little more closely at Rule 30, lest you be included your own cull by application of #32.

  • admin

    Ooh, burned by the latter.

    But with the former – look how you’re reaching for such ridiculous extremes. Give up. They’re gone. The world will adapt appropriately.

  • Steve W

    Fair enough, I’ll not change your mind on this one.

    Oh, an additional rule suggestion based upon previous botherwords: a ban on egregious and arbitrary ‘use’ of apostrophes to ‘surround’ a word for no ‘good’ reason.

  • admin

    Interesting. I’m aware of why it seems like a word is appearing more than usual, and also aware that it’s not really, but despite that, I’m in complete denial of every instance. Such that I’ve seen and heard ‘egregious’ (appropriate use of ‘ ‘) a lot of late, despite having no recollection of its use since that awesome scene in The League Of Gentlemen, when Pauline loses it, until the last couple of weeks.

    Is there a reason for its current overuse. Did someone say it on Little Britain or something?

  • Steve W

    No idea. I noticed that Verdurin used it on the verboten list recently, which is the only reason it stuck in my mind when phrasing that sentence.

    Little Britain. Pfft, ‘they’ abandoned that yonks ago, belatedly but correctly realising that it is in fact rubbish. The current pleb-sedative du jour is of course Lost* and it is this you should be referencing when belittling the sheep-like antics of the 90%. Or repeats of Only Fools and Horses. LOOK, they’re dressed as Batman and Robin. Again. That you earned.

    *despite which, I like.

  • Stu W

    Law 26 has a slight complexity i believe. If Germany is to be known as Deutschland then English wouldnt really have a good equivalent for “German” or “German person”. True, you could say just the same as the Germans do: “are you Deutscher?” “why yes i am Deutscher, how did you guess?” but this is less using German terminology and more using German word structure. See “Englander” for example whereas the English method for building the noun differs.

    So although the wish for the use of original terminology makes sense at a certain level then you have to define at which point you want to stop using German words / word structure and revert back to English.

    With names though, i completely agree.

  • bob_arctor

    Interesting. I have wondered about that in the past. We were invaded by William in 1066. Guillaume you mean?
    Angela Merkel (andjela) or as it should be Angela (angela)?
    A good list. I agree with the umbrella point, rain is wet. If everyone gets wet then no-one will mind, none of this two tier society we live in, and plus weather is fun.
    Regarding actually what would be your stance on replacing it with “in fact” while leaving the “actual” adjective for when it’s needed, as in “the actual word you are looking for is “spikey-death-pole”?

  • Steve W

    Hmm, you’ve got me at it now. I was trying to think where else I’d heard the word ‘egregious’ recently and couldn’t come up with anything – it must have solely been where I originally mentioned. But there we were last night, watching the last 3 episodes of Murder One (season 1), and what happens? It’s used not once, but twice…

  • admin

    I’ve noticed it on the new Adam Carolla Show, replacing crappy Howard Stern.

  • Kieron Gillen

    “The current pleb-sedative du jour is of course Lost* and it is this you should be referencing when belittling the sheep-like antics of the 90%.”

    Idly checked out the TV Ratings page, and lost gets just over 3 million viewers a week. Last time I did the maths, I don’t think a mere three million is ninety percent of the country’s plebs.



    *Another 4 series’, if I’m any judge.

  • bob_arctor

    3 million is good for TV ratings I thought. Especially seeing how many Losts there are. Eastenders though is the one to compare it to, that gets loads, and anything on ITV gets shedloads more viewers that other channels, especially poor old BBC2.

  • Clare

    Just because other people are being grumpy doesn’t mean you have to be. If they jumped off a bridge would you?

    Oh…that should be added to your rules – teachers are banned from saying ‘If they jumped off a bridge would you’ when a pupil copies the mischievous actions of their friends. There is a very big difference between copying something that was kind of funny and jumping to your death just because your mate did. Teachers should credit their pupils with the ability to tell the difference.

    Argh! I’m becoming grumpy. It’s contagious. Look what you’ve done Mr Walker!