Home » When is it Okay to Break the Rules?

When is it Okay to Break the Rules?

DSCN3110This story is about when it’s okay to break the rules, so fishing might not seem to fit, but bear with me.  I promise I’ll get to the point.

So, right near our house is this awesome fishing lake.  It’s one of those lakes where you just cast your line in and the fish fight over it.  Last time we took the kids there, we were pulling fish out 30 seconds after we put our lines in – every one of us – as evidence by this adorable pic of our son. 🙂

This lake runs along a county road that is fairly busy, and many people come and park their cars along the side of the county road and throw their lines in right off the shore.  This is dangerous, both for passers by and for those fishing, as it can be a surprise to come around the corner and see several cars parked on the shoulder with people wandering around as they get ready to fish/leave when they’re done.  There is other shoreline fishing available that is safer, and “legal”, but there’s not a lot of it, and it’s first come, first serve.

For this reason, the county put up a huge, bright orange construction fence along the shoreline where people fish along that busy road, along with several signs that make it very clear that there is “No fishing allowed”.

No matter, however.  People still park on the shoulder,  and walk around the fence and fish anyway.  This drives me crazy.  It drives me crazy first off because of the danger it poses (people even bring their young kids on this busy road to fish!), but secondly, it drives me crazy because, to me, it’s like the people are saying “I’m above the rules.”

Rick thinks it’s no big deal, and can’t understand why I get my undies in such a bundle over this.  So, I thought I’d turn it over to our beloved readers.

What do you think? 

Now, lest you think I think I’m perfect, I want to show you a time just this week when I kind of broke the rules.  At least, I think I broke the rules.  As part of our summer staycation budget, I took the kids to the movies this week with our BFFs.  The big kids had planned to see Maleficent, and we were taking the little kids to How to Train Your Dragon 2.  When we got to the theater and purchased our tickets, however, the other big kids approached Maddie and said “Hey, if you want to see Dragon instead, we’re okay with that.  What do you think we should see?”  The kids decided on Dragon, and I, in my probably-over-the-top rule following way, said, “Okay, let’s go and ask the employee if we can get tickets for that movie instead.”

“Why?”  the kids asked?  “We’re just switching theaters.  It’s not at all busy here, and we did pay for a ticket, so what difference does it make which movie we choose?”

“Oh yeah.”  I answered.  “I guess it really doesn’t matter since none of the movies are busy or sold out.  Okay, let’s go.”

You see, this is how rule-oriented I can get – so rule oriented where I can’t even see where at times it might be okay to break the rules.  Which in turn, leads back to my original question:

When is it okay to break the rules?

What do you think?  And is there any area in your life where you wonder if rule-breaking is okay, or if it’s not?  Things like eating grapes at the grocery store or taking home extra condiments from restaurants?


  1. As long as it’s not too busy in either theater or their isn’t assigned seating (like there often is in LA), I think it’s totally fine! It’s hard to say when rule breaking is OK or not. Everyone is different. When it comes to the movies, I often bring my own food and drink…like dark chocolate and water. I’ve seen some bloggers scoff at this. I don’t think it’s a big deal at all. I think the one sketchy thing I do is media swap with my friend. I pay for netflix and he pays for hulu plus and we share. I’ve seen another blogger point this out as stealing. I guess probably. But I still don’t feel too bad. 🙂

    • Laurie says:

      I think you’re right about everyone being different. I would feel totally guilty about bringing food into a movie since in our theaters there are big signs saying “No bringing in outside food”, but at the end of the day, we all need to do what we feel is best. I think my parents were too good at making sure we followed rules as kids. 🙂

  2. Funny you should mention the movie example! I used to work at a movie theater and I know that people switching theaters does not generally matter to much of anyone- except the movie companies. They like to have an accurate count of how many people saw each movie for their own stats, but also their revenue. Since you may have paid to see a movie produced by MGM, but you actually saw a movie produced by Touchstone Pictures or whatever, you could say that possibly the wrong movie company got paid. But in actuality this happens all the time so they are used to this problem. The fishing off the side of the road thing seems a lot more dangerous since it’s not only the people fishing who could get hurt- but it’s also people just driving along in their cars and not breaking the rules at all.

    • Laurie says:

      Interesting perspective from a former movie theater employee – thanks for sharing!! And I agree that you’re right about the fishing thing too – if a wayward fisherman gets hurt, well, that’s the price they pay, but what about those innocent drivers on the road? Thanks for weighing in, Dee. 🙂

  3. I am such a nerd and have always been the biggest rule follower and I would have had the same idea with you about the movie tickets. One time in high school, I stayed out past curfew with my boyfriend and I got caught by my mom and I felt AWFUL. I was so angry with myself that she didn’t even punish me because I had never broken any of her rules (including not dating until I was 16). My thought is that even if you don’t agree with the rules, they are there for a reason and we need to respect the authority and order they support. I am not sure what rules I would say you should break and what you shouldn’t because it seems as though it would be a slippery slope. But I am sure there are one off situations (like your movie ticket scenario) where I could probably be convinced to ease up a little.

    • Laurie says:

      Yeah, you and I are on the same page as usual, Shannon. 🙂 Funny about you punishing yourself for breaking rules: my oldest is the same way, and we rarely punish her because of it. The great thing about it is that when she messes up, we never have to worry about finding out, because she always tells us herself: she can’t handle the guilt, LOL.

  4. I’m kind of a rule follower so I probably think more like you than Rick. With the fishing…I can see the danger it presents. I can’t think of an example of a rule that I’ve broken but there are instances where I just think there’s no harm. Some rules can be bent!

  5. Your son is cute! I think rules are important, but I also don’t think rules were always made with the best intentions for everyone. I think rules can be broken if you are not hurting anyone, no one is endangered, and you are not blatantly scamming someone. I wouldn’t think twice about just going to a different movie if I already paid the admission.

    • Laurie says:

      Thanks, friend!!! Yeah, he really is cute, and has the personality to match, LOL. You know, it kind of bothered me that I DID think twice about that movie scenario. Made me re-think how much I do/should and shouldn’t follow rules. Glad to have your input, Melanie. 🙂

  6. Aaron says:

    In front of the workplace there is a row of visitor parking spaces. Thing is – we rarely get that many visitors that it fills up. Today, I am parking in one of those spots mainly because I didn’t want to walk the extra distance in this downpour. 🙂

  7. Dianne says:

    I guess I’m a nerd too, because I feel rules were made for a reason. Take speeding, for example. My friend feels it’s permissible to go 5 miles over the speed limit, because cops won’t cite you for 5 miles over. I say that the speed limit is gauged on the type of road, and they are put in place for our safety. I go the speed limit.

    I’m probably this way, because I’m the kind of person who ALWAYS gets caught when breaking the rules. LOL!

    • Laurie says:

      I’m like that about the speed limit too. I always say “It’s called the speed LIMIT – not the speed minimum.” Funny about always getting caught – why does it seem the nerds always get busted, but the perpetual rule breakers rarely get busted? 🙂

    • Laurie says:

      Yeah, I think I do most of the time too. Not in a “holier than thou” way, because we all break the rules in some way, but in a “gee, I don’t want to get in trouble” (or get someone else hurt or in trouble) kind of a way. 🙂

  8. You know, I can’t ever say I break the rules, but I have to say both the fishing and the movie theater do get on my nerves. As far as the fishing, anything that has to do with safety should be followed. I bet those cars wouldn’t be there if they caused an accident and had to pay for the damages, along with living with the guilt of hurting someone! As far as the movie theater. I’ve always been some what of an entertainment buff. My dad was the lead guitarist of Pegasus and personally, I dabbled a bit in “show biz”. Anyway, I learned a lot about how much artists actually make along with how rewards are given. Because you didn’t change your tickets, you could be the 1 vote that really mattered when it came time for the makers of the dragon movie to get the reward. OK, so that’s thinking a little drastic….I know, but I can imagine how many movies didn’t get the awards/credit they deserved because of this very thing. Anyway I really loved this post. The bottom line is that there’s no good time to break the rules…it’s never OK. But, no one is perfect either…no matter how hard we try to be!

  9. Liz says:

    Enjoyed reading this Laurie. I tend to be a rule follower myself : ) Not all the time but on a general note, it stresses me out to break the rules. Just not worth the stress for me!

    • Laurie says:

      LOL, I’m with you there, Liz. I’m still having a bit of backlash guilt from the movie theater incident this week. 🙂

  10. Love the picture of your son, Laurie! So cute! I actually used to go fishing with my father and it’s one thing I really miss. We both would have appreciate a lake where the fish fight over getting caught! LOL! Now onto the point of your post, I admit to being a bit of a goodie two-shoes when it comes to rules. Generally speaking, I am not much of a rule breaker, although there are times that I’m sure I do break them. I think almost everyone breaks some sort of rule at least once in their life! With that being said, given the circumstances as to why they put up those barriers, I probably would be in a bit of a huff too because it appears to an accident waiting to happen.

  11. The Movie Theater Police asked me if I’ve seen you, Laurie, but I sent them the other way… don’t worry.

    I break the rules all the time, but not when it makes situations dangerous for me or others. I think is okay to fish some places even if it says “no fishing” but if you are trespassing, blocking the road, or endangering others then that’s not okay in my book.

  12. Laurie says:

    Thanks, Shannon! Gotta love him. 🙂 Glad to hear you’re with us other rule followers, LOL. Interesting how different people think about these things, isn’t it? So nice that you enjoyed fishing time with your dad when you were young – I’ll bet it was a great time.

  13. No harm, no foul? Right? Fishing roadside could create a serious problem. So much so that the state moved in and tried to stop the situation. Foul! Switching theaters when they are not sold out creates no problem. No foul. We are becoming a nation of unthinking sheep and sign followers. It is good that you were able to exercise thought and judgement in this situation.

  14. I’m a mostly a rule-follower because I was always the “good” kid. My brother would get trouble for something or another so I would, of course, be the good one. I totally played my parents. 🙂 I do think some rules are meant to be broken and don’t follow rules blindly, but I would obey the signs posts to not fish. It seems incredibly risky. No fish is worth my life or the life of someone else.

  15. jim says:

    I’m thinking you may see the off road fishing as more dangerous than Rick does ’cause you’re the mom. I’m usually a rule follower, but the older I get, the less inclined I am to give a rip. I’m voting with Rick on this one (assuming it’s not as dangerous as you think it is). We’ve got a hill adjacent to an elementary school that is perfect for sledding – which of course is what all the kids (and their parents) do. The city posted “no sledding” signs all over the place and EVERYONE ignores them. Every time I see kids sledding in the midst of those “no sledding” signs, I secretly cheer them on. I tend to lean more towards “get the government out of our lives”. If it’s a risk I’m willing to take (and assuming I’m not endangering anyone in the process), then it’s my choice and I will live with the consequences.

    p.s. great picture of your son!

    • LOL, you make me giggle as usual, cheering those sledding kids on, Jim. I’m totally with you in getting the gov’t not to be so controlling, but the fishing situation is a bit on the dangerous side because of the busy county road and the curve. It’s like you come around the corner and there’s people and cars there all of a sudden. Rick just says “Too bad. If they’re dumb enough to do it, and get hurt, tough bounce.” BTW, just drove by there tonight, and someone has taken down the fence and thrown it on the other side of the street into the woods. At least they’re making their thoughts loud and clear. 🙂

  16. I agree that most public or personal safety rules should be followed, but I think falling into the trap of following all rules is dangerous. Striving for financial independence is sort of breaking the rules of society right? There’s lots of rules like this that we can and should try to break to achieve our full potential. I think I’m becoming more and more frustrated with ‘society’s’ rules, after having been a major rule follower for most of my life.

    Like Brad said, independent thought and judgement are really important. I must admit I do get a bit of a thrill sometimes when I do something that ‘I’ decided was important to me, even if it was a little outside the rules 🙂

    • Laurie says:

      Love your take here, Jason!! I think like you do sometimes, but I always still find myself a bit freaking out if I actually break the “rule”. I’ll have to get better at that. 🙂

  17. For me, as a person living in Romania, it’s common sense to break the rules because many of them are plain stupid and created by people who have personal interests when creating them.

    The fishing example is that type of thing that would go as a “not a big deal” in Romania, but that’s not a rule I’d break. You have to think about safety first and from what I understand, there’s not much of it in this case. So not a rule to break! 🙂

    • Laurie says:

      Great point, C. 🙂 Glad to hear you agree about the safety of the fishing thing. It’s never smart to compromise one’s safety or the safety of those around them. Rick saw too many sad cases of this in his 23 years as a firefighter/EMT.

  18. That’s an awesome pic of you son Laurie! In regards to the movie, I can definitely see where you were going with it and as long as the movie wasn’t sold out I’d likely switch as well. The fishing though, I can understand why you feel the way you do. If it were just me I might be inclined to just go ahead and do what I wanted, but the increased risk and having the kiddos there as well…I would think twice. So, to answer your question, I’m not certain what I’d do. 🙂

    • Laurie says:

      Thanks, John. 🙂 He’s so cute. LOL, you crack me up. Glad to hear I’m not the only one who doesn’t know what to do half the time. 🙂

  19. Pauline says:

    I break a lot of rules when I think they are ridiculous. For example there is a road that is straight for about 2 miles around my house and the speed limit is 25mph, when it is 45mph in the capital city with busy traffic.
    I guess I would still be fishing if I were a local, but wouldn’t stop to fish as a passer by.

    • Laurie says:

      That doesn’t make a lot of sense, having it 45mph in the busy city but 25mph on a straight in the country. I can see where it’d be easy to break that rule. 🙂

  20. Brit says:

    Your son is adorable!! So I do break the rules here and there. Like you, I follow the rules when it comes to safety. One thing we are guilty of is taking extra samples and coupons from the doctors office. Well, one of my boys has extreme sensitive skin and at their doctor’s office they have tons of samples with high dollar amount coupons for this particular ointment so I take more than one every time I visit the doctor’s office. So I break the rules here and there. LOL. I feel like a big weight has been lifted from my chest after typing this and finding out some of you are rule breakers too! haha. JK. Have a great weekend everyone.

  21. When I first saw your title, I thought this post might be about breaking the rules of your budget. Whew! I’m glad you’re not breaking your budget 🙂 On the fishing thing, I’d say if the rule is there for safety reasons you’d better follow it. The one time you don’t is when something will go wrong, at least that’s what would happen to me…

    • Laurie says:

      LOL, yeah, we’re doing pretty good this month. 🙂 I’m so with you on the safety stuff – that’s a totally different ball game IMHO – a non-negotiable.

  22. I’m about 5 days late and 2 movie tickets short but I brought some fish, so can I comment?

    I don’t think the orange barrier thing and no fishing sign should be broken because it’s a hazard. If people are going to continue to break the rules, then I hope and pray that the orange fence will at least alert the drivers to slow down and be on the lookout for people and especially kids near the road.

    For the movies, I wouldn’t worry about it. Too much hassle for the impact it has which is miniscule.

    I break the rules when I come to a rolling stop on my bike at a stop sign I don’t want to fall off it, so that’s why I do that.

    • Laurie says:

      LOL, Deb, your comments always bring a smile to my face. 🙂 Update: someone took the orange fence down and threw it across the street into the woods. Nice, huh?

      • Thanks, L! 😀 Whoa, that’s not good. Now I’m gonna worry and need to say my Novena’s that no one gets hurt. Call the cops, but don’t let Rick hear you on the phone :sssh:

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