There Is No Rule Six
In comedies, Long Lists and even shorter ones will include not only redundant repetition of unnecessary items, but also items which assert their own nonexistence. Compare There Are No Rules, and don't see also I Was Never Here.
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- Found in the rules for the Steve Jackson board game Globbo.
- The Karate Kid Part II had a textbook example:
Mr. Miyagi: Aha... here are the two rules of Miyagi-Ryu Karate.Rule Number One: "Karate for defense only."Rule Number Two: "First learn Rule Number One."
- "The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is: you DO NOT talk about Fight Club."
- Chapter 19 ("Miss Zarves") of Sideways Stories from Wayside School:
- Dave Barry In Cyberspace includes a parody of advertisements found in computer magazines purportedly offering great discounts on computers. One of the "incredible prices" quoted is: "BAXTER DataWeasel 95949847 — There is no such computer! Ha ha!"
- Dave Barry Hits Below the Beltway had a double-layered use of the trope: in the American Constitution, Article I Section 8 reads "Section 8 has been intentionally left blank." This becomes doubly funny if you know that Section 8 is the part of the Constitution that gives Congress all of its legal power.
- The book My Brother Was an Only Child by Jack Douglas has, as the entire contents of Chapter Nineteen: "To hell with Chapter 19. Every damn book you pick up has a Chapter 19."
- Except Sideways Stories from Wayside School.
- And books with 18 or fewer chapters...
- Except Sideways Stories from Wayside School.
- In Ender’s Game, Rose tells Ender that there are only three rules, "Do what I tell you and don't piss in the bed." When Ender asks what the third rule is, as he was clearly meant to, Rose replies that that was three rules - "We don't do too good in math, here."
- Implied in Vorkosigan's rules for space warfare:
Rule 1: Don't overrule the Tactical Computer unless you know something it doesn't.Rule 2: The Tac Comp always knows more than you do.
- An old Usenet humor post titled "The Australian Fifth Degeneration Project" had a numbered list of "features" for a rumored new computer including "Feature number 6: There is no feature 6." The Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch was cited in a subsequent footnote.
Live Action TV
- The Trope Namer is the Bruces Sketch from Monty Python's Flying Circus:
Bruce: I'll just remind you of the faculty rules:
- Also in the "Monkee vs. Machine" episode of The Monkees as Peter prepares for a job interview:
Peter: "That's two words."Mike: "See? You're doing it already!"
- A variation from The X-Files, episode "Bad Blood":
Scully: First of all, Mulder, if the family of Ronnie Strickland does sue the FBI for, I believe the figure is 446 million dollars, you and I will almost certainly be named co-defendants. And second of all... I don't even have a second of all, Mulder. 446 million dollars.
- The Traveling Wilbury's have two albums: "Vol. 1" and "Vol. 3".
- That's similar to Johann Sebastian Bach's Third Brandenburg Concerto, which has only First and Third Movements — no Second Movement (though the Third Movement is sometimes wrongly called the "Second", even though it's definitely in the style of a Third Movement rather than a Second).
- An unusual non-(intentionally)-comedic example once appeared in Magic: The Gathering's comprehensive rulebook:
Rule 502.9d: Ignore this rule.
- It was originally a rule involving assigning trample damage that became obsolete, but kept to avoid renumbering the rest of the rules. It was finally removed when Eighth Edition was released.
- Page 128 of the 3.5 Dungeon Masters Guide has a list of traits to flesh out NPCs. Number 26 is
blankmissing entirely, and Number 100 reads "No sense of humor (See #26)".
- The Monty Python version of Fluxx has a card called "My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels." Two people playing the game must each choose a number between one and four. One is subtracted from the sum of those two numbers, and a rule corresponding to that resulting number must be followed. There Is No Rule Six.
- A minor variation from Bottom Live, when Richie contemplated the following “What have [I] got to live for? […] Everyone would prefer it if [I] were dead!”:
Richie: What a ridiculous suggestion – first of all…
& Ⓑ … Well I don’t need a Ⓑ because the Ⓐ was so great!
- Dramatic example from Fiddler on the Roof, when Tevye is mulling over whether to accept Chava marrying a non-Jew: "On the other hand... there is no other hand!"
- The manual for Lemmings paid homage to Monty Python in the Hints and Tips section with "6. There is no tip number 6."
- A joke list of Warhammer 40,000 Space Marine Commandments features a variation on this:
201. Thou shall not point out there is no 175 commandment.193. By order of the Inquisition: There is no such thing as the Inquisition, questioning this will have thou deemed heretic by the Inquisition.
- The Laws of Anime include #43- Law of Triscaquadrodecophobia: There is no Law 43.
- From the Freakazoid! episode "Normadeus":
Freakazoid: "One: Norm Abram is gone. Two:..."Cosgrove: "We don't have a two."
- From South Park:
Step 1: Collect Underpants.Step 2: ???
- The Cow and Chicken episode "Night of the Ed!" has Cow reading about what to do when their pet jackal turns vicious. Step one is "Panic". Step two is "There is no step two".
- Very common in real life codes of law. Laws are generally always referred to by number, so labels always have to be kept consistent. Thus, whenever a law or section of a law is repealed, the text is replaced by something along the lines of "There is no section X."
- As a practical matter, sections within a title or chapter are often "reserved" so that entire chapters don't need to be re-numbered when a new section is added. Normally, the hundreds digits and up within a section number indicate the chapter, while the tens digit of a section indicates a particular topic within a chapter. Thus, §521 might deal with 1st degree murder, §522 with second degree murder, §523 with felony-murder, and then §524-530 are "reserved", with §531 being, say, voluntary manslaughter. If a new degree of murder is added (capital murder, perhaps), it would be §524, rather than having to renumber everything, having to make it §523A (which is really confusing), or having to put it at the end of the chapter, which may be several hundred sections later (which is just as bad). This does result in there being no §524....for the time being, at least. In this case, the missing sections are simply labeled as "§§524-530: Reserved"
- Question 17 of the 2011 British Census: "This question is intentionally blank"note
- There's a joke that goes "Rule 1: I am always right. Rule 2: If I am ever wrong, see rule 1."
- A similar joke has been put up in German work-places at least since the 1960s: "Rule 1: The boss is always right. Rule 2: Should the boss not be right for once, then rule 1 comes into force."
- With live-cast showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, this is often used by the stage manager when explaining the general "rules of behavior" in the theater.
- IBM manuals are infamous for pages stating "This page intentionally left blank".
- Common in IT. When automated, regular reports are generated and sent to distribution lists, a "No report was created / No data in the report" message is the best way to avoid users calling the helpdesk to say "they didn't receive the report".
- During one of the debates between candidates for the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination, Governor Rick Perry declared, "And I will tell you, it is three agencies of government when I get there that are gone. Commerce, Education, and the... what's the third one there?" After an awkward pause (during which a few of the other candidates and the debate moderator tried to prompt him), he finally concluded, "I can't. The third one, I can't. Sorry. Oops."*