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Prohibitions

Something or other got me thinking about things that were Not Allowed when I was a small child.
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I could only think of a few:
Do not cross the Busy Road To Go To the Sweet Shop On Your Own
This one was pretty comprehensively ignored, though I seem to recall that we did cross the busy road with considerable caution as a result, less because we were scared of being run over, so much as to avoid being spotted.  It was strange to revisit the area and discover that the Busy Road is in fact pretty much a quiet backwater with a 40MPH speed limit.

Do not Mess with Daddy's Saxophones.
The Crown Jewels of the household, to be handled only with permission, extreme caution and clean hands.

Don't put Your Knees on the Back of My Seat.
I failed to manage this many times.  Why they don't put a solid core into car seats so that anything pressing against the back can't be felt by the person sitting in the front is beyond me.  Though perhaps nowadays they do.  I've not tried it.

Do not Play with Matches
I can remember being told that one and thinking 'it had never occurred to me to play with matches! Matches, of course!  This ruling was undermined when my Dad taught me an important life skill: how to burn a match from one end to the other without burning your fingers.  He said that one day someone in a pub would bet me that I could not do it.  This has not yet happened, but I am still hopeful that one day it will.

Plus, the no matches rule is hard to enforce if , of  your various gas appliances, none of them have working ignition buttons, so you have matches everywhere and are constantly using them to light things.

Also, playing with matches resulted in pleasing small fires, which could be used to toast the marshmallow you bought from the sweet shop you weren't supposed to visit, on your way home, so you had eaten everything before it could be spotted.   Other sweets were proved to toast less successfully.  Refreshers, for example.  It's hard to get them on the stick, and then they just burn...

Oh: I remembered 3 more!:
Do not Take Bones From the Dog
Do Not Go Near the Dog When She Is In Bed
Do Not Mess With the Cat.

All of these, so far as I recall, were enforced firmly, but without excessive violence, by the animals involved.  Another animal-related dictum that doesn't really count as it's not a 'do not' was 'they don't belong to you, they belong to themselves'. Which is quite profound really.

I really really should do some work now.

Comments

( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
louisedennis
21st Nov, 2008 13:05 (UTC)
We have discovered that Not Allowed mostly involves meal times. e.g. You are Not Allowed to eat with your fingers (except when you are, of course, the presence of bread or pizza base is usually a good measure of when you are). You are Not Allowed to start pudding before everyone else has finished their main course. You are Not Allowed to leave the table until everyone your own age has finished and you've asked permission. We haven't yet introduced you are Not Allowed to start until everyone else has sat down but it's looming on the horizon.
king_pellinor
21st Nov, 2008 13:10 (UTC)
Some of those baffle me. Why is pudding on the table before people have finished their main course? Why is the main course being served before everyone (except the server) has sat down?
louisedennis
21st Nov, 2008 13:13 (UTC)
Pudding is not on the table, however small people know where the fridge and the cookies are.

Small people also have a tendency to eat anything (they like) on their plate as soon as its on their plate so, as one person cuts the meat and places it in front of them they dig in. More importantly, if Yorkshire Puddings are on the table when they sit down, said Yorkshire Puddings will probably have been eaten before anyone else even gets in the room.
bunn
21st Nov, 2008 13:13 (UTC)
Did you have those rules yourself when you were that sort of age?

So far as I recall, my best friend's home had rules like that and they had a formal family meal every day, whereas we mostly just grabbed food and ate it as it came (probably making Zoidbergesque gobbling noises) apart from special occasions...
louisedennis
21st Nov, 2008 13:18 (UTC)
I'm fairly sure we weren't allowed to start before everyone else was sat down. I don't remember the pudding one, but I also don't recall ever thinking I knew where pudding was - I suspect this was because my Mum tended to make puddings every day while we rely on cookies and ice cream. I'm fairly sure we also had to ask before we could leave the table.

We have a formal(ish) meal every day but a lot of the time we enforce the rules simply because they need to be obeyed at big family meals and so forth and habit is the easiest way to get used to them - most of them constitute basic politeness once you're old enough to work out how that functions.
bunn
21st Nov, 2008 13:43 (UTC)
I've probably forgotten some rules. The ones I could remember were definitely from before I was 12, as we moved house then, but I've probably forgotten ones from G's age that later morphed into basic politeness as you say.

My memory is that our 1970's puddings mostly came out of tins or packets, but I suspect my mother would think this a foul calumny...
king_pellinor
21st Nov, 2008 13:40 (UTC)
We did.

We also had rules like keeping half the pudding to have another day; which day never arrived so the pudding always went mouldy and was wasted :-(

Also we generally had to ask for food between meals (though we were allowed supper, normally a sandwich with jam, cheese and/or peanut butter), although this degenerated as we got older and indeed it's now impossible to survive at home without raiding the fridge as Mum still seems to think everyone's ten years old and serve portions accordingly.
louisedennis
21st Nov, 2008 14:37 (UTC)
I have special rules applied to me alone about not leaving small amounts of food in tupperware pots in the fridge unless I actually have a plan to eat them.
wellinghall
21st Nov, 2008 13:32 (UTC)
pleasing small fires, which could be used to toast the marshmallow

Christingles are good for this :-)
bunn
21st Nov, 2008 13:55 (UTC)
Wouldn't they give your marshmallows a waxy taste...?
wellinghall
21st Nov, 2008 13:56 (UTC)
The kids in church never seem to mind!
ladyofastolat
21st Nov, 2008 13:33 (UTC)
Hmm...

Never, Ever Play the Piano Without Washing Your Hands

When Visiting, Never, Ever Ask For Something. Always wait until you're offered. This often resulted in me getting a really bad headache as a teenager when visiting relatives who, camel-like, seemed to be able to endure without liquid refreshment for hours on end, causing me to sit there slowly dying of thirst all day because I Wasn't Allowed to say, "please can I have a cup of tea?"

Never Fill The Kettle With More Water Than You Need. Another one from my teenage years, and one that I'm still incapable of disobeying, much to the irritation of work-mates who come into the kitchen, drawn by the sound of a boiling kettle, and find no water left over for them.

Never, Ever Write in a Book. I still remember with annoyance the time I drew very, very thin pencil lines on a map in a book, to help me copy it out, fully intending to rub them out and leave no trace, and my Dad was outraged and made me rub them out there and then, not letting me draw the map first.


I do remember that I made up prohibitions of my own, especially at Christmas. Far from getting up early and opening my presents at dawn, I was the one who decreed that no-one was allowed to even go into the room that the presents were in until everyone was up and breakfast was finished.

louisedennis
21st Nov, 2008 14:38 (UTC)
I finally broke and told G she could colour in the pictures in the fairy books as long as she didn't use felt tip because I couldn't think of a single logical reason not to.

B. sits and observes in stony disapproving silence.
bunn
21st Nov, 2008 14:45 (UTC)
We used to have a Children's Story of Christmas book where the front cover nativity scene had been entirely coloured in, *in toothpaste*. Which had then been allowed to dry. I can't remember now if this masterwork of modern art was created by me or my sister, but I can still remember the strange stale mintiness of the cover. Forever the flavour of nativity scenes...

Things could be *so much worse!*
king_pellinor
21st Nov, 2008 14:49 (UTC)
I have just about gotten to the stage of putting yellow stickies in my copy of the legislation occasionally, but I have to remove them once I've finished that bit of work (although to be honest it tends to fall open at the right page these days - I've obviously spent far too long looking at FA1996 in part 1a). I will also annotate a draft document that I've printed out for the purpose.

I shudder to see other people with legislation bristling with stickies and highlit bits, and I have great trouble annotating course slides (though this is largely because I know I'll never ever look at them again, so rarely take them away).

I am working on scribbling up documents that I review, rather than making notes on a separate bit of paper. Auditors despair at the paucity of ticks in my files :-)
helflaed
23rd Nov, 2008 11:19 (UTC)
The kettle. Agh. I boil what I need and tip away any left over for safety reasons. Other half will overfill it, boiling water overflows over the worktop and a kettle nearly full of scalding water sits there afterwards. Then he complains that there isn't any water in the kettle after I've used it.
king_pellinor
21st Nov, 2008 13:42 (UTC)
How about ones that apply now? Or would that be breaking Do Not Open Cans Of Worms? :-)
bunn
21st Nov, 2008 13:48 (UTC)
Only if you can avoid offending the mug...
ladyofastolat
21st Nov, 2008 13:56 (UTC)
Hey! The Do Not Try To Subsist For A Week On Merely Custard isn't a hard and fast rule, just a very strong suggestion. ;-P
ladyofastolat
21st Nov, 2008 14:06 (UTC)
By the way, I could have sworn that I saw you in the Co-Op in Cowes today. I am working on the assumption that I did not, and that it was merely your evil double from a parallel universe.
bunn
21st Nov, 2008 14:38 (UTC)
Umm, no. I am in a pretty vague and unfocussed mood today admittedly*, but I think even I would have noticed if I'd accidentally popped out to the co-op in Cowes. For a start, I don't think I'd be back by now. And I'm definitely here. I think. Well, if I weren't, Mollydog would be winging and she isn't.

* I noticed I'd put unopened tins of sardines in the fridge for some reason, but I haven't actually removed them.

I need coffee...
wellinghall
22nd Nov, 2008 15:03 (UTC)
Our nearest sweet shop - our nearest shop of any kind, in fact - was about 2 miles away, with pavements for the last hundred yards or so. When we went to see my grandparents, it was marvellous, because we could walk to the shop.
bunn
22nd Nov, 2008 17:12 (UTC)
Our sweetshop was about two miles there and back again, so it was a bit of a trek. But that was walking across a common, so it was a reasonable distance for small childen on a mission, apart from crossing the Busy Road, which divided the common in two.
tena524
22nd Nov, 2008 15:50 (UTC)
Do Your Chores Before You Go Out to Play.
I am still a terrible procrastinator, so this one clearly didn't stick.

Do Not Play Near the Stream.
This was a tiny little trickle that barely came above my ankles most of the time, but Mom was convinced I would somehow drown myself. ????? Of course, the corollary to this was:

Do Not Play on the Other Side of the Stream.
Doubly fascinating because forbidden, of course, even though the woods on that side was just the same as the woods on ours.
bunn
23rd Nov, 2008 15:26 (UTC)
I don't think that one ever occurred to my parents, but my Dad was very strong on children being really, really good swimmers, so I suppose they had it covered that way. I can't remember how many times we fished my sister out of the local pond, I had a theory she was turning amphibian at one point...
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )

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