_D5C5045brian by Brian Clarey

The first Clarey Rule, the first one on my watch anyway, came in the eighth grade.

I brought to school a can of a product called “Fart Spray,” and deployed it twice, once on the school bus and again in the instrument closet of the band room.

Word spread quickly about the provenance of the absolutely disgusting smell — which, I might add, bore little resemblance to actual farts — and I was detained for a time in the vice principal’s office. During that meeting it was established that Fart Spray would not be allowed at Garden City Junior High, whereas before the incident this regulation had not been explicitly addressed.

That’s what a Clarey Rule is: A rule made in direct response to something a Clarey has done. Often that Clarey is me.

More Clarey Rules came in high school. After I gave a speech on how to make fake vomit using canned goods, the drama teacher announced that no one would be allowed to waste food during their presentations. And these days, at Garden City High School, you can’t run for student office with an excessive amount of demerits, a rule proclaimed just days before the Class of 1988 held its election. That was one of mine.

Everywhere I‘ve been, new rules followed like a can tied to a stray dog’s tail.

I’m the reason why alcohol is banned from Friday afternoon editorial meetings of the Loyola New Orleans student newspaper, the Maroon. And it was my actions that determined the ruling at Fat Harry’s stating that under no circumstances can a patron use a toy devil’s pitchfork to stab other patrons in the butt, even if it’s Mardi Gras, and if the patron persists in that activity, the pitchfork will be confiscated.[pullquote]Everywhere I‘ve been, new rules followed like a can tied to a stray dog’s tail.[/pullquote]

You can’t drink at Igor’s eight hours before your shift starts. You can’t pay your rent in rolls of quarters. You can’t file a fishing story in which no one catches a fish. You can’t “just chill out” in the Greensboro Grasshoppers press box.

It’s the story of my life, written in the negative space.

But the thing about Clarey Rules is that they come just a little too late, after the deed is already done. By the time they get around to make a rule about it, a Clarey is already on to his next caper.

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