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Everyone needs rules, or guidelines to make their lives smoother. Without them we would have chaos.

In Sanskrit, the word for rule is sila. Other meanings for sila include custom or habit.  Throughout history, every successful society has had some form of rules. Some are written rules while others are spoken. Some are undocumented habits or customs. Guidelines are set so that members of the society know what they should or should not do.

A society, in its most primitive form, is merely a collection or group of individuals.  So it is not beyond the realm to consider your circle of friends as a society.  I do.  And as such, I have a set of rules, or guidelines that my friends and acquaintances know.  As I am fairly ambidextrous and somewhat dyslexic I have a difficult time with the words left and right.  My friends know that and adjust giving me directions into language (and signals) that are not confusing to me, although they can wind up with hilarious results. But that is another story.  My rules are simply something that have evolved over time with both myself and my friends.

One of the most confusing, or at least obfuscating, rules that I have is Moose Moose Duck.  This stems from one evening a long time ago when myself and my college roommate and dear friend, who has since passed, were watching an episode of The Muppet Show.  The skit involves the Swedish Chef who is busy doing his thing. Suddenly he looks up, startled, cries “Moose” and dodges to

one side as something goes flying past his head.  He begins his cooking routine again and again looks up and yells “Moose” and dodges to the other side as another object flies past his head barely missing him.  He goes back to his cooking and yet a third time something goes flying past his head, only this time someone from the side of the stage steps in and says – “no Chef,  it’s a duck!”

From that point forward my roommate and I used “moose” as our warning signal.  As outwardly humorous as this is, and confusing to those “not in the know” it is actually a very important societal rule.  It can be broken down into two tenets –

1)     Communication is paramount

2)     Know your partner

While I am not going to bore regale you with stories of our sordid charming and vastly entertaining tales from college – I will say that our little warning “rule” did come in handy from time to time.

So – If you ever hear me yelling “Moose”  “ Moooooose”  you would probably do well to duck…

I couldn’t find the exact episode, but this Swedish Chef bit featuring “pressed duck” always makes me laugh and remember Stitch – you are missed my old friend!