After all these years I have come to a monumental decision.  The so-called Golden Rule got it wrong.

WE can all quote it:

Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

Now understand me.  I know the rule is well intentioned.  I realize that the error might just rest in the translation.  But that doesn’t change the basic fact.  The damn rule is wrong and has been the cause of a great deal of unhappiness throughout the ages.

The way I see it, what the rule wants to accomplish is just splendid.  It wants people to be nice to other people.  But treating them the way you want to be treated is not necessarily a good thing.

I made this discovery while I was living with my sister, Jackie.

 Now you must understand that, among well-intentioned people, my sister has always ranked high.  She only wants the best for you:  the best as she knows it, wants it, and dispenses it.

However, there is a problem with that.  I want it, see it and dispense it in a totally different way.


When my sister was not well, she liked to be fussed over. Confined to her bed, she expected me to make frequent visits to her room with offers of hot tea and dry toast or stewed chicken – already cut to bite size. 

And if I, as the visiting nurse, could remember that her favorite ice cream was coffee with a just a touch of Bailey’s Cream poured over it – she was in heaven.

She even, as I remember it – liked it that I stopped by frequently to check her temperature and offer hot or cold cloths for her aching head.

This, unfortunately, is not what I gave her.

What I offered was the joy of being left alone.  I’d stop by in the morning and offer her an appropriate breakfast, and then I’d close her door and go away.

I wasn’t being mean, I was doing unto her what I wished she would do unto me when I felt sick.


She never did.

She was indefatigable.  Every five minutes or so she was there with some new, helpful, tender way to minister to – and add to – my discomfort.

Was Jackie just a natural born sadist?  By no means.  Instead, she was a compassionate follower of THE GOLDEN RULE.  And I really hated it.

Hence my declaration of independence from said rule.  Don’t treat people the way you want to be treated.  Instead, treat them the way they want you to treat them. Their way.  Not yours.


It is not really easy advice to follow.  After all, you know that your way is the right way.  Otherwise you would have been doing it her way all along. 

The good thing is, the recipients of your new awareness are very grateful.  They may not realize just what’s different, but they will be content, and, after all, isn’t that what we hoped for all along.?


Having said that, let me now move on to a totally different subject

I just got home from the theater where I watched Judy Garland disintegrate.

The play, “End of the Rainbow”, is, I believe, a dead-on representation of the pathetic sad, sad world in which one of a America’s most beloved stars lived and died. 

The title is based a Garland quote:  “…I believe in the idea of the rainbow.  And I’ve spent my entire life trying to get over it.

Tracie Bennett WAS Judy.  Every jerk and tremor that we all remember – or, having seen it so frequently in replays of her late performances, think we remember, was there. Totally recognizable and totally tragic. 

Ms Bennett even managed, against a background of a fine combo, to  sing off key.  Not all the time, and not by much.  But enough,  And that, as anyone who loves music knows, is VERY, very difficult.

To say that I enjoyed the show isn’t quite accurate.  I think I appreciated the play…the writing, the staging, the memories…but I also felt like I’d been dragged through a war zone where a horrific battle raged.

Aside from the aforementioned combo, there were three other participants in the drama, and, while they were all fine, and all necessary to the action, the show was all JUDY.  Love her or hate her,  you are really going to understand her and her monumental demons when you leave the theater.

In his review of the play, the New York Times critic wrote – in part:

As befits a play about Judy Garland, a woman known for liberally mixing her pills, Peter Quilter’s “End of the Rainbow” is a jolting upper and downer at the same time. After watching Tracie Bennett’s electrifying interpretation of Garland in the intense production that opened on Monday night at the Belasco Theater, you feel exhilarated and exhausted, equally ready to dance down the street and crawl under a rock.

Listen to the man.  Go see it at a theater near you.











  1. You did it once again, Betty! BRAVO! Love reading these, and especially having known Jackie, it really hit home, and made me miss her dearly, all over again with or without her ‘rule’.
    Keep these coming. I get such a charge out of them.

  2. Great post BB…leave it to you to recognize the slight irregularity in this time-honored rule…yet it is so true. How many times have our well-intention-ed family or friends nearly drove us crazy with their concern and kindnesses expressed ad nauseam…as we lay there helpless, hoping for them to just leave us alone.

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