How to Break All The Rules and Get Everything You Want

(Austin Mahone performing at the show)

We arrived at the “Boy Meets Girl” fashion show and the woman with the clipboard said, “You are not on the list.”


I had been telling my daughter Mollie all week we would go to this show.

Mollie was very excited.

“Don’t worry,” Nathan had told me earlier in the day, “you will be on the list.” I am extremely grateful he did this for me.

Then we got there and we were not on the list.

I acted confused. I kept saying, “are you sure?”

I find when you act confused but polite then people want to help. There  was a line behind me. I wasn’t fighting or angry. So there was no  reason for anyone to get angry at me.

They just wanted to end the confusion.

The woman wrote down an “S” on two pieces of paper, smiled and said, “Shhh”, and handed them to us.

We were in.


The “S” meant “Standing Room Only”


I found a woman inside who could help me.

I said, “I write for the Wall Street Journal and I thought we would get great seats.” (true)

“Ok,” she said, and she went off to find the president of the fashion  company to get my front row seats PRONTO! This was all just a big  mistake.

She came back. “You know….” she said, “we’ve already seated someone from the Wall Street Journal.”


“Well…I blog,” I said.

You know that awkward silence that happens every time an asteroid comes  within 47,000 miles of hitting the Earth and then nothing happens?

“Yeah, there’s a lot of good standing room only positions. Have a fun show!”

So Mollie and I took our standing positions behind four rows of seats that were next to the runway. She couldn’t really see.

We made friends with everyone standing around us. The ushers. The other  people who were standing room only. I took pictures of Mollie with  everyone.

Then when the lights started to dim, the ushers waved to Mollie. There was an extra seat near the front.

After the show we went to “SPIN”, the ping pong club.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” said the woman behind the counter, “all the tables are booked for the next two hours!”


Apparently Bank of America was having a party and rented the entire place.

It’s not enough that they crashed the entire economy in 2008. Now they  had to prevent me from playing ping pong on my daughter’s special night  out.

“Don’t worry about it,” said Mollie, “we don’t have to play ping pong.”

I said, “can we just walk around and watch all the players?” And they let us.

I saw a table labeled “Bank of America” that was empty and it had two racquets left on it.

So Mollie and I played ping pong for the next hour. Nobody noticed.

Then the woman came up to us and said, “I have to ask you to leave.  This table has already been paid for. You can’t play there!”

I offered to both leave and pay for the time we used. I did not want to cheat them in any way at all.

But she smiled and said, “Oh, you don’t have to pay. I just can’t let you stay there.”

So we left.

By the end of the evening:

  • we had gotten into an exclusive fashion event we had no tickets for and were not on the list for.
  • we got great seats even though we were “standing room only”
  • we played an hour of ping pong at the best club in NY for free, courtesy of Bank of America.

It seems small, but we broke all the rules and had a fun time. The key  is that we were simply nice to everyone and didn’t argue and were very  thankful at everything we got to do.

Don’t break the laws. Don’t kill people. Don’t steal. But most other rules can be bent.

If you act like the river, you ultimately flow past all the rocks along the way.

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