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I don’t think of myself as a outlaw although I suppose I am – at least officially.

It’s not just being anti-social, although sometimes I am. And it’s not being dishonest, although sometimes – officially – I am that as well. It’s like seeing the law as it’s written as being a sort of helpful guideline to how we should all behave.

During the pandemic when most places were shut down, Carmela and I traveled across country more than once, stopping at truck stops for gas and food, and when there was no other choice, doing our business by the side of the road.

There are people we know, many of whom we love and like, who hid at home during the pandemic, obeying authority and wearing masks when they went for a walk down deserted streets and while driving in their cars.

Meanwhile the bums by the side of roads and highways roamed freely because they had no home in which to be confined. And while some people were banned from going to church during the pandemic, other people could riot in the street with no masks, because they were doing important “social justice work.”

It’s silliness. During that crazy time, we drove across the California state line to the relatively free states of Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas, living life and not bothering anybody else.

When we got to the free state of Florida, masks were not required, although some service people wore them to keep the tourists happy.

So much of wearing masks was a psychological thing. If everybody else was wearing masks, people thought they should wear masks too just so they wouldn’t be outsiders.

It was just the opposite in Florida. When the tourists arrived all masked up and the locals were going around enjoying life without masks, pretty soon the tourists took their masks off as well. There are lessons to be learned there about human nature and the eagerness to fit in.

And then there were the doctor visits.

I hate going to the doctor, but my wife insists that I do. So I go, both to keep peace in the family and because my wife loves me. But during the pandemic, Kaiser only wanted to admit the patient, nobody else – unless the patient was a child or required physical or emotional assistance.

Since Carmela wants to ask the doctor a lot of questions that I would never ask, she wants to go in to see the doctor with me. Fine by me.

So when we checked in, Carmela would take me by the elbow and lead me in, while I gazed absentmindedly at the ceiling and people passing by. No kindly personnel ever spoke to me. They addressed all their questions to my “caretaker.”

Once we were checked in, Carmela would sometimes forget our ruse and walk away, expecting me to walk with her. I would stand there, slack-jawed, until she would sigh and come back and grab me by the arm to take me along. It was sort of a fun pantomime, and we got really good at it during the lock-down.

Maybe I like breaking the rules because I come from the South and there is a rebel spirit still alive there in both the lifestyle and the music. Country songs are often about life outside the rules of polite and lawful society.

It’s not about doing evil things. It’s about living free. About being your own person and not looking to the the government or anybody else to set down arbitrary rules about how you should behave.

To be honest, I have my own rule and I think it’s a good one.

Be nice, be respectful of others, and live a happy life.

– George Lee Cunningham

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