13 Unwritten Rules of “The New Normal”



Last year, I wrote a blog entitled The Unwritten Rules. It was one of the more popular I penned in 2019, and I think people were finally happy that someone actually wrote down The Unwritten Rules. Let me get this straight: no one elected me to represent them and no one authorized me to create these rules, but since I am the only one who has bothered to put any thought into this, the job was left to me. 


The world is a very different place these days. Everything has changed — our relationships with other people, the work environment, and basic societal norms for how we interact with friends and family. Everyone talks about “the new normal” like it’s actually a thing, but no one can define it. Phase Three starts next Wednesday, July 1, and before you know it the new normal will be on us — like stink on a June Bug


With that in mind, I have written the definitive 13 Unwritten Rules of “The New Normal.” Keep in mind that there are severe penalties for breaking these rules. I will write down and give you the exact penalties at a later date, but I do know that failure to adhere to the Governors Executive Order can land you a $500 fine and up to one year at the Fluvanna Women’s Correctional Facility — a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there. The kind of penalties I am talking about might be somewhat less severe, like embarrassing you publicly on Facebook or hounding you for a $5 Starbucks card if you offend me in any way.


Without further ado, here are the 13 Unwritten Rules of “The New Normal:”


Rule #1: Face masks must be worn at all times unless you are eating, making love, or driving alone in your car. (Doing any of these things with a face mask on makes you look ridiculous.) 


Rule #2: Drinking alone is no longer discouraged. (In fact, it’s the only way most people are dealing with “the new normal.”)


Rule #3: You are not allowed to save your stimulus check. It must be spent immediately…on something really, really stupid. (Goodbye college fund, hello pet rock.)


Rule #4: You are not allowed to pay for anything, anymore with cash. (You must now use a debit card, credit card, Apple Pay, Venmo, Cash App, Zelle, Bitcoin, PayPal, gold bullion, a cashier’s check, or old currency you stole from your Grandpa’s coin collection.) 


Rule #5: Tipping is now mandatory for delivery drivers. This is no joke. I am being serious about this. If you are too lazy, or scared, to drive yourself to Little Caesars, then you need to cough up 20 percent for Kyle, the 27-year-old part-time DoorDasher who just had to pay $105 bucks at Goodyear Tires because he ran over a pothole on Cary Street while bringing you an $11 cheese pie. (The next time you order “pizza, pizza” make sure you have some “money, money.”)


Rule #6: The next time you are on a Zoom call, mute yourself. (No one, and I mean no one wants to hear you sneeze, eat, cough, fart, belch, or shush your kids.)


Rule #7: Teachers must be paid more immediately — unless there is no school this fall. For generations, we have not adequately compensated our public school teachers for having to deal with our kids. (After homeschooling them for four months, we have come to the realization that for the first time in American history, our kids will not grow up smarter than we are.)


Rule #8: Hoarding toilet paper is now a capital offense. This means that if you are “sitting on” more than 64 rolls of double-ply Charmin, you can be arrested, arraigned, charged, indicted, and found guilty of a crime against humanity. (The penalty now for stashing bowel towels is now breaking out of Shawshank Prison, the hard way.) 


Rule #9: Hugging is now permitted if one or more of the following conditions can be met: 1) your arms are long enough to hug someone six feet away, 2) you do not have arms, 3) you pre-sanitized your entire upper body prior to the hug, 4) you’re both lying on the floor hugging each other with your legs, or 5) you have pre-approved the hugging process by texting another person the hugging emoji in advance. 


Rule #10: It is now illegal to stay in your home for more than seven days straight. Seriously, get a life and get some air. Sunshine is good for you. You don’t have to go to Kroger, but for goodness sake get out of your house. (Just because you can order anything and everything on Amazon Prime to survive doesn’t mean that you actually should.)


Rule #11: The following people are the only ones allowed to wear gloves moving forward: health care professionals, first responders, food service workers, tattoo artists, and people who live permanently above the 43rd Parallel. (And maybe some baseball players and overpaid and overhyped NFL wide receivers who play for the Redskins.)


Rule #12: Once international travel restrictions are lifted, it will be illegal for any airline to assign you the middle seat. (If they accidentally put you in Seat 37D, explain that you are a middle child and that you now need your emotional support iguana before the plane can taxi to the runway.)


Rule #13: Local, state, and federal health officials must consult the zodiac forecast before creating any additional COVID-19 guidelines. (This would mean that most current health directives would not apply to Scorpios, like me, or when Mercury is in retrograde. Whatever that means.)





Monday, June 22 – Virginia is for School Nurses



On Monday we received the good news that the Virginia Association of School Nurses has chosen Madison+Main as its Agency of Record. Did you know that there is only one registered nurse for every 923 students in Virginia schools? In light of the new normal, I think that’s something we need to change. How about you? Learn more about our new client and the amazing work they do here.







Tuesday, June 23 – Thank You Beth & Congrats Monica 



On Tuesday night things got back to normal, or the new normal, as the Magnificent Midlothian Rotary Club gathered for its Annual Installation Ceremony. There were awkward pauses, first bumps, elbow touches, side hugs, and even a few old fashioned handshakes at the annual changing of the guard for the Richmond region’s top Rotary Club. We gathered in Innsbrook to say thank you to outgoing President Beth Fitzwater and congratulate incoming 2020 President Monica Marks. Special thanks to Mark Jones and his great team at Atlas 42 for the tasty food and stiff drinks.





Wednesday, June 24 – Zoom Room



Over the past year, we have had several clients participate in our collaborative, in-person marketing strategy sessions we call CORE, but as with everything else we are “pivoting.” To ensure our clients get the full effect of the collaborative process, we have been experimenting with taking CORE completely online using Zoom and Google Jamboard technology. On Wednesday morning we made a dry run to test out the new system and did a CORE analysis of Madison+Main. The software worked flawlessly and after almost 15 years, we discovered our X-Factor: Boldness. #TheProcessReallyWorks




Thursday, June 25 – Plugging Away at Another Convos With Clients



Special thanks to one of our favorite clients Andy Farmer, Education Resources Manager at the Virginia State Corporation Commission, who manages the Virginia Energy Sense program. For the third episode of Convos with Clients, Andy and I hopped on Facebook Live and took 30 minutes to talk about the program, why it’s important to Virginia, and he shared some tips on how you can save some money on your next power bill. In case you missed it, check it out here.





Friday, June 26 – Cheerin’ For Erin


Congratulations to Graphic Designer Erin Rebmann for three years of making it onto the payroll of Madison+Main. She’s actually been here 3.5 years but we don’t count her time served as an unpaid and underappreciated intern. In all seriousness, congrats Erin and we are so glad that you are on the team. If you would like to send Erin a kind note of congratulations, click here.





A Few of Our Favorite Events


Madison+Main’s “Convos with Clients”

Virtual Event | Richmond, VA

July 2, 2020 | 12 p.m.


We are back with a new weekly series for you! We’re thrilled to announce “Convos with Clients” every Thursday at 12 p.m. Join us on Facebook Live as we talk to our clients and friends about their various industries, businesses, expertise, and lives! On July 2 we will be talking with CEO of Dale Carnegie Central and Southwest Virginia JJ White.


Got an upcoming event you want to share? Can we come? Send us the deets!




“Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it.”

Henry David Thoreau