Reading the invisible rules

I was idly listening to Just a Minute today while sprawled on the sofa reading the paper doing stuff. (Is radio four the soundtrack to my life?) and there were some things here that made me think about class in general, fitting in to new social groups and the importance of unspoken rules.

You see the basic game rules are to speak for one minute on a subject without repetition, deviation or hesitation (it’s as though Nicholas Parsons is ON my shoulder. *shudder*) Today Josie Lawrence was too quick on the repetition, picking up on Is , ands & thes until gently reprimanded by Nicholas, “usually we let those go..”

Really it’s not about the game at all. The game is a structure to be funny within. If you’re just pressing the buzzer to let people know when they’ve erred it’s just not “cricket.” You turn up full of good cheer and hope, really looking forward to a good game, you follow the rules impeccably (you studied them carefully last night) and still – you fuck it up.

 Sometimes it feels as though life involves wading from one club full of unspoken rules to another. If you’re not quick on the social cues then you’re going to get used to feeling out-of-place. It applies to everything, what you wear, what you say, what you shop for, where you take your kids to play, what you worry about vocally at the school gate. There are rules, they’re not written down anywhere and god forbid you break them.

Of course if you’re always doing it and you’ve never read the secret rulebook  you quickly see it’s not the end of the world. After all as long as you stick to your own personal rules…

Josie Lawrence won that game. Good on her.


One response to “Reading the invisible rules

  1. i suspect that she knew the rules, not being new to the game…

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