Don't change that channel. Don't readjust your monitor. I'm interrupting your usual Wednesday programming to bring you \The Long and Short of"" toeing the company line.
Like most people I tell to stop toeing the company line, you are probably asking yourself what the hell that means.
To make the story short, toeing the company line is an idea created one less-than-sober evening by the man behind the ugly mugshot that usually runs in this slot on Wednesdays. And in truth, it can mean just about anything you want it to. But of course the story cannot be told in just that many words.
To begin, I owe my parents a big thank you for teaching me not to toe the company line back in high school, even though I obviously didn't know that I wasn't toeing the company line.
You see, when my parents tried to set a curfew, I basically made my own. When they told me to be home by 1 a.m., I would come home at 3 a.m.-and they would just tell me not to do it again. The next weekend they might say to be home by midnight and I would stroll in at 2:30 a.m. to the same response. That, my friends, is not toeing the company line.
But it was not until that one glorious night last semester that I realized the true meaning. I realized that I had been working so much that many people didn't know if I was still alive. I was toeing the company line to the max.
I went through all of the stages that come with toeing the company line. First came denial, then acceptance-but with the excuse that I was just doing my job. After another month or so of toeing the company line, I realized it was destroying just about everything else in my life. It was time to stop toeing it.
While in my case, ""the company"" actually was my job, it doesn't have to be an actual company. It can be anything you want it to be.
Say your buddy has stopped going out on the weekends so that he can hang out with his girlfriend all the time. You definitely need to tell him to stop toeing the company line.
But just like all many things in life, toeing the company line every once in a while is a necessary evil. A professor is probably not going to think ""I wasn't going to toe the company line"" is a good excuse for you missing a midterm. And your friend is probably going to lose his girlfriend if he completely stops toeing the line.
The problem is that people are toeing the company line when they don't really need to. So I urge you to come up with new ideas on how to stop toeing the company line and put them into action.
The company line thing to do is to go out for F.A.C. every Friday afternoon. Last week I decided to try a new idea. Th.A.C. That's right, Thursday After Class-hit up your favorite local establishment for Thursday Happy Hour. If you know your lecture is not going to teach you anything, skip it to check out a spring training baseball game or a Champions League soccer match.
The beauty of the idea behind towing the company line, is that it's open to interpretation, which means it's open to new ideas.
Do what you have to do to get both yourself and your friends to stop toeing the company line.
By branching out to the Almanac page, Eric is not towing the company line. He will, however, return the Sports section next Thursday. He can be reached at email@example.com.