“You can’t change the rules after you play the game.” There’s no other way of saying that.
I’d be redundant to simply rephrase it, play verbal checkers and substitute a few words, like this: You can’t change the rules after you’ve already agreed on them, even if you’re unhappy with the outcome of the process.
There, that’s not really better, just different.
Until last night, I was involved in a process with others in which every participant has gotten many chances to voice his or her opinion. My concern, for several months has been that mere whim trumps agreed-upon rules, and when the outcome displeases one, there’s the desire to re-create the past.
In an almost-forgotten class on American history, we covered inflation, the illustration being that after the Civil War, the currency ballooned so much that people practically needed a wheelbarrow full of money to buy a loaf of bread.
Doubtless, the buyer would still be wondering, “Will this be enough money?”
Several years later, I got a practical application of the principle when I took my youngest son, Benji, to the new McDonald’s in town.
Twenty-five years ago, in the nascent days of direct deposit, we’d walk to a bank, deposit most of the check and draw out a bit of spending money, this era antedating debit cards as well.
It’s not as if I can scale walls, leap tall buildings at a single bound or perform acrobatics on a trampoline.
The implication that I could came from Karen Rieniets and Barbara Dorris, both of whom just assumed I had something to do with the rearrangement of letters on the marquee at the long-closed Serf Theater downtown.
To review: Last week I took a photo of some changes on both sides of the marquee. For years the sign had advertised “In Her Shoes.”�
Someone got to the sign and changed the words to “Heros Shine.” The photo cutline commended the alterers for having used all 10 letters to come up with a different, original, movie.
But our features editor, Lee Einer, said the plural of “hero” takes two “e’s.”
After a meal for nine of us Trujillos at a splendid Santa Fe restaurant, Los Potrillos, where the Mexican food is authentic, I plunked down a tip, all in coins. Well, I suspect the waitperson did some quick math: $2.50 for a meal of about $65, or less than 4 percent.
Inferring I’d left him 10 quarters, the server must have thought, “Este chango es un cheap-o.” So I assured him, “Son dolares”: they’re not quarters but dollars. And therefore I wasn’t such a Señor cusco after all.
But that’s the problem. After buying stamps from the often-out-of-order machine at the Las Vegas Post Office, I ended up with a pocketful of Sacajawea dollars as change. The coins were minted in 2000, to replace the unpopular Susan B. Anthonys of July 1979 vintage.