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Rant #514
(published November 25, 2010)
No Rules
by Keith Landrum
I was sitting at my desk last Thursday, working diligently on my day's tasks when Abby walked in. Abby works part time and she usually strolls in casually around noon. Last Thursday was no exception. The first thing I noticed as Abby walked past my desk was that she looked as if she just woke up. The second thing I noticed was her Green t- shirt with lettering on the front that read "Enjoy Coke." As I read those two words, I thought to myself, "Yeah, whatever. Don't tell me what to enjoy."

I'm the kind of person who doesn't like to be told what to do. I consider myself to be a unique individual who refuses to be pushed around by authority. A lone wolf, if you will. No rules, I always say. No rules! Lone wolves like me don't follow the herd or the rules of others. We make our own rules and those are the only rules we will obey. Since I am a rebel bad ass with no rules, quite naturally I was bothered by what I had read on Abby's t-shirt. I took offense to it, but tried not to let it bother me. This would prove to be impossible.

I continued working diligently, just as I always do, but I could not get the image of what I read out of my head. "Enjoy Coke" was all I could think about. Abby's t-shirt wasn't even the right color to be a Coke shirt. It was Green. Who did her t-shirt think it was to tell me what to do? I'm sure the Chattanooga Coca-Cola bottling company would not even endorse such a t-shirt, being the wrong color and all. Where did she even get that fucking t-shirt anyway? She probably got it at a flea market somewhere.

Abby works directly in front of my desk and every time I looked up, I saw her t-shirt saying, "Enjoy Coke". It was beginning to be uncomfortable to even look away from my computer screen. I sat at my desk and stewed over this situation for quite some time. I knew I couldn't work the rest of the day like this, so I decided I would have to say something to her about this matter.

"Abby, I don't care what your t-shirt says; I'm not going to enjoy Coke. Ok? I don't appreciate being told what to do by a t-shirt."

"Yes you will, Keith. You will enjoy Coke . . . " Abby replied.

"Bull fuckin' shit!" I interrupted. "I don't get told what to do by you, by Chip (pointing to the dude sitting at a desk nearby), or by some stupid t-shirt you chose to wear up in here today!"

"You'll do whatever my t-shirt tells you to do, Keith!" Abby said in her usual annoying nasal squeak.

I couldn't believe what a bitch Abby was being about this whole thing. Why was she sticking up for her t-shirt like that? What power did it possess? I had many questions I needed answers to.

"I will not, Abby! I'm a renegade badass!" I explained. "No rules!"

That dude Chip chimed in with, "It's only a t-shirt . . . "

I told Chip to shut the fuck up.

"This doesn't concern you, Chip! This is between me, Abby, and Abby's stupid ass shirt!" I said.

Abby came back with some shit like," Don't call my shirt stupid!"

I did my best Abby imitation and said "Don't call my shirt stupid!" in such a convincing manner, she thought she had said it twice.

I told her once again that I will not be told what to do by her or a t-shirt. "Enjoy Coke", her shirt kept saying.

"It's merely a suggestion . . . " Chip said, butting in to a conversation that didn't concern him.

"I thought I told you to shut the fuck up, Chip!" Chip never shuts up.

I went on to explain that "Enjoy Coke" was not a suggestion. It was a demand. Suggestions are made once, in a subtle way. I know a demand when I hear or read one, but I don't listen to suggestions. No rules, I say!

"Who the fuck do you and your t-shirt think you are, Abby? It's not even officially licensed is it, Abby?" I demanded to know.

"Yes it is! And besides that, didn't I see you drinking a can of Coke yesterday, Keith? I bet you enjoyed it too!"

"Don't fucking tell me what I enjoyed, Abby!" I replied.

It was true; I had drunk a can of Coke the day before. It was hot outside and I did enjoy it a little, but I wasn't going to tell her that. As a matter of fact, I had a can of Coke in the refrigerator just waiting for me to drink it. I had a point to make and I was about to make it.

"Hey, Abby, watch this!" I said.

I got up from my desk, walked over to the refrigerator, and pulled out the can of Coke I had hidden away inside. I walked back to my desk and sat down in my chair, cracking open the can.

"You see this, Abby?" I asked, holding up the can of Coke I was about to drink.

"Yeah, I see it! What are you going to do with that, Keith? Drink it?"

I sat and chugged the whole damn can right in front of her. I burped four times as loud as I could, crushed the can with my bare hands, and threw it across the room. Chip walked over and picked it up and put it in a nearby trash can.

"See that shit, Abby! I didn't enjoy that shit!" I said.

"Keith doesn't enjoy anything . . . " Chip tried to say.

"Chip! Shut! The! Fuck! Up!" I exclaimed.

But Chip wouldn't shut up. Instead, he said some shit like "It's just a way of advertising. In today's economy, Coke is at least employing people and . . . "

Lucky for me, I got a phone call. I took that call, and 5 minutes later, Chip could be heard saying," . . . and that's why Capitalism works for all of us."

I said, "Chip! Shut the fuck up! I'm serious! I didn't enjoy that Coke, Abby. I enjoyed not enjoying it! Ya hear that? I did not enjoy that shit at all!!"

"Keith, I don't care what you say or think you enjoy. This is stupid. I'm not talking to you anymore." Abby said.

"Ha ha! You're admitting defeat! You can't fuck with me, Abby! No rules!" I said.

"Whatever." Abby said. "Chip, what was that you were saying about a mixed economy?"

"Well . . . " said Chip, "I was saying . . . Keith, you might want to hear this too, . . . "

"Fuck you, Chip!" I said as I shot him a bird. "No rules, motherfucker! No rules! Don't tell me what to enjoy!"

As the day dragged it's ass to an end, I sat in silence, gloating at my awesome and brutal victory while trying to not catch another glimpse of Abby's stupid fucking shirt. Let this be a lesson to you all. You don't have to be told what to do, what to enjoy, what to think, you only have to remember two words. No, not enjoy coke.

No Rules.

Keith Landrum lives and writes in Tennessee.

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