We were cardplayers in my 50's Bronx childhood. It was a simpler time: three networks, lifetime employment, stable families. (As you can see by that ordering, I've always been a mediac!) And, family poker and gin rummy games broke out at the drop of a hat. My mother, brother and brother-in-law were particularly bitten by the rummy bug, and they'd constantly learn new games and bring them home for us to try. Because they sometimes got confused about these games, we always had our copy of Hoyle's Rules of Games handy.
There was never any question about it: Hoyle's was the law. Whenever a question arose, someone would refer to the book, find the relevant passage and begin reading the answer, prefaced by the phrase, "According to Hoyle..." In fact, that phrase morphed into more common usage, becoming synonymous with "playing by the rules."
Of course, Hoyle was a fraud. Well, not that there wasn't a Hoyle (there was), and not that he didn't chronicle game rules, (he did,)...but, he died in 1769! So, no way he could have known the intricacies of 500 Rummy as played in The Bronx in 1959!
No. Somebody had, (and who even used this word then?) branded the idea of "setting down the rules of the game" using old Edmond Hoyle as their icon.
Thing is, whoever did this was way too modest in their ambitions. I mean, having a reliable reference for getting the rules of Pinochle and Knock Rummy is one thing. But, how about getting the rules for working in the new post-9/11, post-Internet, post-blogosphere, post-The Apprentice workplace?
What would you give to have the reliability of a Hoyle's for everyday workplace life? I'd give a lot.
So, let's try to write those rules together over the next week or so? OK?
Merry Christmas...see ya next week.