Rules to Live By (According to A.P. Miller)

As a creative person, I love automation! The more routines I can pack into my day, the better, because it’s freeing up the creative centers in my brain. Things like decision trees make me absolutely euphoric, because that is brain power that can be reserved for writing a story or developing a concept. To that end, I have a list of rules that I live by that lend to the automation concept — rules that make sense to me, but maybe not to you. 

For your reading pleasure: the rules of A.P. Miller’s life.

No. 1: There is no talking in the men’s room, while at the urinals. I am excluding the women’s restrooms, because I’m okay with emergency conversation between the stall walls — unless a new type of female urinal was invented, I carry the assumption that every depository in the women’s restroom is in a stall. My problem is, I don’t want to talk to anyone else while I’m being hands on with another matter. It’s not that I don’t want to be social, I just don’t want to converse while hand-to-junk connections have been established.

No. 2: Wearing ear buds is the international symbol for “don’t bother me unless someone I am related to is on fire or I am actively bleeding.”

No. 3: Unless they are wearing a billboard that says “I have another human life inside of me,” never assume they are pregnant.

No. 4: If they are pregnant and with someone else, do not assume that the child belongs to that someone else. They could just be friends and then it is awkward for everyone.

No. 5: The men and women of food service and retail are the hardest workers on the planet and deserve my respect and the most polite conversation I can engage in. This also includes Service Persons — There are no exceptions.

No. 6: If a child I don’t know has touched something I own, I will douse it in hand sanitizer. It’s not that I don’t like children, I have just learned to assume that most children are inexplicably sticky.

No. 7: Say “Thank You.” When a waitress brings your drinks and food: thank you! When a cashier rings up your order and gives you a receipt: thank you! When someone returns your call, when someone returns something they’ve borrowed, when someone allows you to borrow something, when someone lets you through in traffic, when someone gives you a gift, a card, or acknowledges your special day: SAY THANK YOU.

No. 8: When a child hands you a toy telephone, pick it up and answer. Let’s be honest: that child’s likelihood of having to deal with terrible people when they become an adult is high — that is no reason why an adult should be giving them static during their carefree years. You take that phone, and you answer it like the President has just called and appointed you to be the next member of the Avengers!

No. 9: Always hug your Mom like you’ll never see her again. I can’t tell you how much I regret not giving my Mom that 5th hug before I left and never saw her in person again. It will haunt you too.

No. 10: Let life’s difficulties build your character. I was in a drive thru once, really looking forward to my Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Bagel. The window gave me someone else’s bag; I was already too far down the highway to take it back, so I chowed down on someone else’s order. It wasn’t awful — I now know for certain that I don’t care for sausage, egg, and cheese biscuits. I didn’t slam on the breaks, turn around, and then verbally abuse someone because a mistake was made. When life pisses on your foot, is it really necessary to raise holy hell until someone suffers financially for your satisfaction? You bought a shirt that had a ripped seam — the store refunds your money, so you’ve lost nothing. What entitles you to free coupons and a gift card for your trouble? Bruce Lee, himself, said “Don’t pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.”

No. 11: Shake hands like you mean it. If you can’t make hand-to-hand contact to show someone how much you appreciate meeting them, then why bother?

No. 12: Always take advantage of opportunities to laugh with an old friend. Especially if you aren’t sure you’re going to see that person for a while. Reminisce, have a laugh, and wish them well. I firmly believe that having a familiar laugh with a good friend is better than most medicine.

Until your next trip across the Millerverse: Cheers!

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