What is the "Sixty Second Rule," I hear you all collectively asking? As usual with my weekly in-depth reporting where I tear the band-aid off the wound and rip open the truth, I'm going to tell you.
Now, first of all let's not get it confused with the life-essential and scientifically-proven "Five Second Rule," where it's absolutely okay to eat food off the floor as long as it hasn't been there for over five seconds. Everyone knows it takes at least five seconds for germs to crawl onto dropped food, duh. That's why you can find me standing behind patrons at fast food restaurants, waiting to retrieve their discarded treasures.
We're also not talking about the Sixty Second Rule about skin care that suggests...
Recently, my twelve-year-old nephew asked me, "Do you know what the Sixty Second Rule is?"
I shook my head.
"Well, in school," he explained, "there's a no fighting policy. So, you know, people still wanna do it. And there's a rule that if someone's got a problem with you and call you out, you gotta meet them under the Sixty Second Rule."
"I still don't get it," I said.
"A place and time is set up to fight for sixty seconds, so no one gets hurt. And you have to do it. Otherwise, everyone's gonna think you're a..." He hesitated, looked at me warily. Finally, said, "...a sissy."
I knew twelve-year-old boys don't use the word "sissy." I helped him out, "funcle" that I am, and let him off the hook. "Ahhh...you mean, a pussy," I said with great wisdom and authority.
He smiled, nodded. "Yeah. But..." Shrug. "...I didn't wanna say it."
The rules were further elaborated upon. Someone uses their phone as a timer, calls the time, then a winner is unanimously declared, victory by mob-rule. After the minute long battle, everyone goes back to class, no one ratting.
I asked him if anyone ever gets hurt.
"Not really." Another shrug. "Well, a black eye sometimes, but that's about it. They just say they fell."
I was alternately amazed and appalled.
I mean, here's a mini-society of children taking the incivility of fighting, and somehow turning it into something nearly civil! Their own rules, their own bylaws, and everyone must abide by them. Twelve year old justice! Lord of the Flies rulz!
The future is here! Soylent Green is people!
On the other hand, a lotta damage can happen in a minute. Unlike those liars in Hollywood, most fights that I've witnessed (or been the unfortunate participant in) last only seconds with someone usually getting laid out mercifully fast (that was always my part to play). Also, unlike Hollywood, when you hit someone? It never, ever, ever sounds like: "SPAK!"
My wise beyond his years nephew said he'd not been called out yet, but wouldn't that be awful, waiting for that inevitable day to come? If you looked at somebody wrong? Or smiled at a someone's girlfriend or something? To always have that Sixty Second Rule hanging over your head?
And, don't you just know that the kid who keeps winning is gonna start abusing that power and calling out kids because he doesn't like their shirt or something?
Then again, I look back at my school days, and kinda wish we'd had that civilized incivility. That way, I could be assured of a less than a minute beating and then, poof, I'm done.
Speaking of beatings, my protagonist in my new lycanthrope thriller, Corporate Wolf, takes quite a few, both literally and metaphorically. He's a werewolf. Maybe a killer. He's bullied by coworkers. Hounded by his boss and the (in)human resource department. Women confuse him. And he doesn't understand what exactly is going on at his hell-on-earth mega-corporation. The answers await you just one clickety-click away!