If we’re fortunate enough to be born, it isn’t long before we discover that our world is full of rules. The ones who make up the first ones are our parents and right on their heels come our teachers and our schools.
“Eat your peas.” “Hold still while I wash behind your ears.” “Make sure you’re seated at your desk before the bell rings.” “No talking in class.” Those sorts of things become the music that is always playing in the background of our personal soap operas.
Fortunately, most of those rules, based on the love and experience of our elders are there for a reason. They protect us so that we can survive long enough that we can start making up rules for the next generation.
All rules are not created equal. A child who refuses to eat his peas might be toying with his personal health but his refusal to bathe for months has an impact on all those with whom he comes in contact. And the child who talks and disrupts a classroom impacts his fellow students but being late to attend school mostly affects his own opportunity to learn.
So we see that, even among those rules which are designed by those who make them out of a loving motivation, some are more consequential than others. And that brings us to the larger question of rule making to which we become exposed as we take our places as adults in society, written by those who are elected to govern us “for our own good”. We call these rules, laws. And there are a lot of them – more than mom and dad or the principal of my grammar school ever concocted.
This became abundantly clear to me yesterday as I took Gracie and the three golden retrievers to the dog park. It was turning out to be a warmer day than we have been experiencing lately, but for some reason, when we arrived for our second visit we were there by ourselves.
After a short bit of ball throwing as we walked through the fairly large area, I saw one of the Park Marshalls pull into a parking space. He stepped out of his car and entered through the gate. I didn’t think much of it until he approached me and asked, “Are those four your dogs?”
I explained that Gracie and I were together and that I was taking care of the three goldens for a friend. After checking to make sure that they had all the right paperwork on them (in their case it was tags on their collars) he gratuitously informed me that, “You are only allowed to have three dogs if you live in Las Vegas.” I told him that I knew that.
So he then said, “Other than your saying that these three dogs are a friend’s, how do I know that is really the case?” The gross stupidity of that question stunned me. He had just checked the dogs to make sure that each of them had one of the required “documents” – a name tag with the owner’s name and phone number on the reverse side. I pointed that out to him.
“You will notice these three have one owner’s name on their ID tags and Gracie has mine on it.” He thought for a moment as the profundity of that statement sank in. “Oh,” he responded. “Well, have a nice day.” And with those words he returned to his vehicle.
I wasn’t sure, as I thought about this brief encounter whether I was more annoyed at the stupidity of rules like this or the people whom we pay to enforce them. I don’t know what city councilman thought up this rule or which other members voted to pass it – but it makes little sense and has almost nothing to do with the public’s safety and well-being.
In fact, it is somewhat counter-productive in a municipality which needs money and charges for each dog license which is issued. You would think that from a strictly economic standpoint, the city would view having dogs as a source of revenue and would encourage a philosophy of “the more the merrier.”
Of course, the inherent foolishness of this rule is rather obvious. A household is limited to three dogs. Where this magic number comes from is anybody’s guess. But the law doesn’t stipulate what kind of dogs, so one household might have three Chihuahuas and be in compliance and another might have three Bullmastiffs and also be in compliance.
Frankly, I’m surprised that Chihuahua owners throughout the Las Vegas Valley haven’t screamed discrimination and sued the city. Even the more obtuse members of our judiciary would probably notice that you need a lot more than three Chihuahuas to come up with the weight-equivalent of three Bullmastiffs.
If you drive around Las Vegas, you will see a variety of billboards posted by attorneys. One for people who are experiencing marital issues reads, “Call us at (702) D-I-V-O-R-C-E.” Another, for those who enjoy drinking and driving and speeding offers help at (702) T-I-C-K-E-T-S.
How long can it be before an ever vigilant city, faced with tremendous deficits, begins doing house to house searches for contraband, excess dogs and we will see a poster from a new law firm that offers help at (K-9-P)-R-O-B-L-E-M-S?
As I was writing this I remember the old saw, “Good things come in threes”. I also remember hearing that about sneezes. Perhaps that is the thinking that also limits our dogs to three per household. And it does suggest a thought.
What if we were to limit our elected officials to passing no more than three laws during their term of office or restricting the President to the same number of Executive Orders during his four years? This might have the effect of requiring them to focus on what is really important and addressing those issues in a serious manner. Or at least one could hope.
Otherwise, we’ll just have to adapt to living in an idiotocracy. I suspect most of us have gotten kind of used to it already.