The No Complaining Rule!
This actually originated on one of those way-too-much-fun North Shore (Lake Superior) smelting trips with some friends many years ago (about 1980). For some reason we made a rule when we left that no matter what happened, no one could complain.
It was a good move, as we ended up with plenty to complain about. We got there very late, and it was cold, windy, and pouring rain. The smelt weren’t running. The transmission went out in our borrowed car.
Two of us walked through the woods in the rain to a porch light we saw to call for a tow truck. The owners answered the door, but wouldn’t let us in at 2:00am, so we had to stand outside in the pouring rain while they called a tow truck for us (I would have done the same, and wish I could find them and thank them again--they were pretty nervous).
Six of us had to sleep in the car, cold and wet, after being towed to Two Harbors. And in the morning, even though no one felt their very best, we all kept the rule.
There were some real close calls, but no one complained! Instead, we bought a used car and a piece of rope, found some smelt to net, and towed our smelt and broken down borrowed car back home, four hours away. A trip to remember!
Ever since that experience, the “No Complaining Rule” has been part and parcel of every camping trip I’ve been on. It is really amazing how effective it is to help a group get through challenging weather or difficult circumstances. It becomes an inside joke, and everyone becomes an informer. Would-be offenders are cut short and given a friendly warning. Quick trials are set up to determine if a comment was a complaint, or simply an observation.
For the record, “It sure is raining hard,” is an observation. “Who’s stupid idea was this and don't ever invite me again,” is not. Seriously, it gets to be an outlet and can pull you through. I highly recommend it to everyone!