i find rules interesting.

for instance, there is a rule that you must begin every sentence with a capitalized letter. i'm breaking that rule for my column today andndash; because I can.

some people may see rule breaking as part of a general move by today's "me-generation." i see rule breaking as a way to explore boundaries.

of course there are rules that should never be broken. killing a fellow human being, stealing things that don't belong to you, keeping a fish you caught by snagging, etc.

even with those rules though, there are exceptions.

humans are put to death via a punishment system that, according to the rules, requires death in certain states for certain crimes.

the government takes what doesn't belong to it by force, and calls it taxes.

don't snag fish. it's against the law. even if you snag it accidentally, gently place it back in the water and let it return to mother nature.

so, if there are exceptions to every rule, then don't we need to question the rules?

in photography, the key to breaking all of the rules is to know the rules.

for instance, the rule of thirds asks that you place the subject of interest at one of four points made when you draw four lines andndash; two horizontally, two vertically andndash; to divide the image into thirds.

if you don't know the rule, then you're just taking garbage photos that your friends will tell you look great, but really are just fuel for a hungry fire.

in sports, where would we be if no one had ever broken the rule forbidding integration and accepted athletes of all races, religions and creeds?

if jackie robinson hadn't broken the color barrier and become the first african-american to play in major league baseball, would we have the prince fielders, yao mings and troy polamalus of today?

the same must be said for the world in general. where would racial equality be without rosa parks and martin luther king jr.? where would women's rights be without susan b. anthony and bertha baruch?

those rules existed for a reason that must have made sense to the people in charge when the rules were made.

and yet, the rules have been broken time and time again.

branch rickey was one of the coaches in major league baseball who believed in taking chances. he knew the rules and choose to break them andndash; and upset people in the process.

if we didn't have the rickeys of the world, breaking rules, examining rules, changing rules, things would never change, they would remain static, boring and lessen us.

rules exist for one reason andndash; to allow mankind to coexist, but in order for us to evolve and progress, the rules must change, too.

as we obey rules, and fit them into our lives, we have to constantly watch, and evaluate them.

not only do we have to fit them into our lives, but we have to choose whether or not we will obey them. once we choose to disobey a rule, we also have to accept the consequences.

if an athlete chooses to drink booze or do drugs, and gets arrested or kicked off a team, they have to recognize that they broke the rules and accept the punishment that comes with it.

if a fisherman chooses to break the law by taking fish that he shouldn't, or in a way that is not in keeping with the rules, then they have to accept that they could have their license suspended for life, face fines, and lose their fish.

if someone takes the life of another, well ... i think you get the picture.

examine the rules in your life. decide if you want to follow them to the letter or not, but remember that you have to accept the consequences that come with the choices.

If I'd observed all the rules, I'd never have gotten anywhere.

andndash; Marilyn Monroe