Groucho Marx said he’d never want to be a member of any club that would have him. How many of us feel that way? Most clubs are all about exclusion with a whiff of pomposity whooshing out the door as it closes in our face. While having a discussion recently, a friend and I decided we’d like to be members of a club of our own. Its only purpose? Inclusion. Mr. Marx should, therefore, consider himself an honorary member because we have him. He’s a member. We take everyone. Even you.
As if this moment, you’re an official member. You’ve been added to the roll call. You can’t be left out. You’re included. You’re with us and we’re with you. We’ve got your back and we hope you’ve got ours. We don’t see the color of your skin or the size of your baggage. You can be young, old, fat, short, tall, skinny, smelly, strange, smart or stupid. It doesn’t matter. Welcome to the club.
Even if you’ve never been invited to join a club or been included in any group up until now, you’re welcome in this one. You don’t have to have rhythm, wear a funny hat, get naked, hate anyone, or live in a certain neighborhood. You can like to read, but you don’t have to. You don’t have to be green or blue, or paste a rainbow on your bumper unless you want to. You don’t have to kill anyone to join (in fact, we would prefer that you don’t), nor are you required to drink enough beer to puke. You can if you want to, but we don’t recommend it. You don’t have to vote (even though you know you should) or be able to juggle or run a two minute mile or march in a parade. You’re just you. We appreciate that. It’s enough. Welcome.
There will be some rules, of course, some structure, but you can’t get kicked out for breaking, bending or otherwise messing up said rules. Just do your best to behave in the future.
Rule #1: There will be no mandatory meetings. Ever. There are no monetary dues. No one will be in charge. We won’t elect you secretary while you’re in the bathroom. And no one will ever be so late getting home from these non-existent meetings that they miss their favorite reality show. Just be who you are, where you are. Don’t talk too much and listen politely when others do. There is no complicated application to complete, and you’ll never have to recycle any junk mail from your new club. We don’t even forward joke emails (unless they’re really really funny) so you can relax.
Rule #2: Don’t try to make yourself or anyone else feel bad/guilty/ashamed of things that are totally out of their control. But do try to help if you can and it doesn’t interfere with the soccer schedule or make you burn dinner. Have a little compassion. We won’t tell anyone, but you know you’re not perfect either.
Rule #3: There will be no making fun of or laughing at anyone other than ourselves, without permission. And if we are laughing at ourselves, the unspoken (but written rule) is that others should then feel they’ve been invited to join in the general “milk out the nose” merriment. After all, it’s no fun to laugh at yourself by yourself.
Rule #4: It’s okay if you like to cook. We won’t hold it against you. But do feel compelled to drop off some of your whoopee pies whenever you’re in our neighborhood. It won’t get you elected president, but it won’t get you elected secretary while you’re in the bathroom either.
Rule #5: No hating. Not yourself, not anyone else. You can avoid people you don’t like, but you’re not allowed to hate them – it takes up too much energy – energy you could be using to make everyone some whoopee pies.
Rule #6: No back stabbing/gossiping/lying. If they’re in the club (and remember, everyone is), no being mean about them, even if you think it’ll make you feel good/happy/superior. It won’t. Even if the story is way better than anything you could make up and it could have been true.
Rule #7: It’s ok to be flawed. Really. We all are. No need to dwell. Compare warts and war wounds with your neighbor – you’ll see that you’re not the only one who sleeps with the lights on and has extensive philosophical conversations with the cat.
Rule #8: You can leave the club if you want, but you’re never going to be considered a former member. It’s like the mafia but without the accent and inherent fear of cement.
Where do you sign up, you wonder? Did we mention there’s no paperwork? You were born. You’re a member. We’re all members. It’s just that sometimes we forget. We’re unique but alike. We have needs, wants, wishes, flaws, beliefs, opinions, virtues, bumps, bruises, scars and freckles. We laugh, we cry, we bleed, we love, we think, we yell, we mess up and we do things right sometimes (not as often as we’d like, but sometimes). We’re called Human Beings. Welcome to the everyone club – Club HuB.