John Irving wrote The Cider House Rules in 1985. The “Rules” differ between the book and the movie, but they generally warn the workers to stay off the roof. The Owner has posted them without any explanations.
The rules, of course, symbolize one pole of the moral relativism that is explored in the work from various viewpoints. We never learn the Owner’s rationale behind “stay off the roof,” but we can speculate.
So I proposed my own set of Bunkhouse Rules to fill the gap and possibly establish some common sense principles for bunkhouse living:
1. Clean up after yerself. Leave things at least as good as you found ’em.
2. Keep yer boots offa the beds and tables.
3. Snorers will be ask’t to sleep in the barn. Sorry.
4. Take a bath at least once a week in winter, an’ ever’ other day in summer, or join the snorers in the barn.
5. Cussin’ is resarved fer speshal occasions. Don’t go wearin’ out our powerflest words by usin’ ‘em ever’ day.
6. Jest ’cause you think up somethin’ to say don’t mean you got to say it. Silenc gets respeck.
7. It’s perfecly okay to drop yer duds on the floor here. This is yer home. You’ll jest want to shake ’em acordin’ to the follerin’ table afore you put ’em back on:
On floor for shakes likely varmints
5 seconds+ 2 ants ‘n fleas
1 minute+ 3 earwigs ‘n beetles
1 hour+ 8 spiders ‘n stink bugs
overnite+ 12 black widders, taranchalas
2 days+ 20 scorpiens
1 week+ * rattlers
* over 1 week: Get poker. whack duds 10 times; hold over fire till they start smokin’. Quench in the horse trough. Put on to dry. Or maybe just hang ‘em up in the first place.
8. Braggin’ makes a man look smaller, not bigger.
9. Do unto others as you’d have ’em do unto you, ’cause guess what?
10. Gossip is fer sissies an’ ole wimmen an’ fellers that ain’t got enuf to do. Thass why we’ll all be lookin’ at you slanchwise if you start gossipin’.
11. Remember this: there ain’t no trouble so bad that a nice bottle of whiskey can’t make it a hell of a lot worse.
12. The feller who bilt this bunkhouse used crap lumber, so stay the hell off the roof if you value yer life.
© 2005 BY J GUENTHER