Every community, big or small, rural or city, village or municipality, metropolis or burg... No matter where you live, sleep, work, eat, visit family--there are RULES. No, they may not be written down-but everyone in the area seems to know them by heart. At least, those who've existed in the area for any amount of time greater than, let's say, six months. By then, you should be familiar with the midtown madness; the rural routine; the asphalt jungle jargon. THE WAY. And here in West Texas, it's no exception. The way of life here and the rules that go with it can be broken down into 5 unwritten rules. And they are:

5. ALWAYS DRIVE LIKE A MANIAC

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DON'T respect lane boundaries, DON'T let anyone over, not even if they've had their signal on for 5 blocks, and whatever you do DON'T watch where you're going--EVER. Just drive--use the Force if you want to--and let the minions in their vehicles around you avoid you like a large version of the video game FROGGER.

4. MAKE SURE YOU ALWAYS HAVE PLENTY OF CLEAN SHORTS AND T-SHIRTS

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Alina Utter
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For those endless strings of 106-degree days like the ones we've been having, you'll need to be prepared to be cool if you're headed out of the house. Doesn't matter if the boss likes it or not.

3. KEEP THE INFLATABLE RAFT AND ROOFER'S PHONE NUMBER HANDY

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You'll need them BOTH for severe storm season here with the torrential downpours causing spontaneous lakes to appear in random low-lying places, and your shingles are spending time partying in your neighbor's backyard a block down.

2. ALWAYS HAVE SUNGLASSES WITHIN REACH

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Doesn't matter if it's clear and sunny and bright out, or an endless blanket of dirt blowing in the air turning the entire sky above West Texas into a brown mess-you'll need them. Either for eye protection from the light, or the flying dirt. Or both.

1. ALWAYS EAT OUT. NEVER EAT AT HOME. EXCEPT FOR...

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Brian Jackson
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Sundays--when you can't find an open restaurant around here to save your life. Let all the groceries you spent money on sit at home in the cabinet and fridge and spoil while you fill all the restaurants and drive-thru lines here 24/7, causing long lines and long waits. It's FUN. And you don't have to go home and do any dishes. You WILL end up filling your trash can with rotten groceries that have been sitting for two weeks though.

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