We’re all familiar with the term “crossing the line” as in “You really crossed the line this time Mister!” or “Now that’s really crossing the line!” When I was a kid I actually thought the line being crossed was a real line, something tangible like the line down the center of a highway. I remember watching war movies with my dad in which a squad of soldiers would be trapped and under heavy fire with no way out, so the commander would be forced to seek out volunteers to carry out a mission behind enemy lines that will mean “certain death” for the volunteers but could possibly save the rest of the squad. The commanding officer would gather the troops together, explain the situation then draw a long line in the dirt or sand and ask for volunteers to ‘cross the line.’ In one of my favorite scenes the commander turned his back after drawing the line, hoping for a few volunteers and when he turned back around a few moments later, every man in the squad had “crossed the line.’
Of course as I got older I came to understand that ‘crossing the line’ had nothing to do with drawing lines in the sand or heroic acts of bravery and actually meant doing something deemed inappropriate, some sort of action either physical or verbal that progresses from acceptable behavior to totally unacceptable behavior. I also came to realize that when you ‘cross the line’ you aren’t breaking any specific law, rule or command, the ‘line’ is simply an implied state of unacceptability, an unspoken, and often modifiable understanding of what constitutes going too far. But here’s the catch, what may constitute ‘crossing the line’ to one person may not be anywhere near the line to someone else. It’s completely arbitrary.
Personally I am usually not in the habit of ‘crossing the line.’ That’s not to say I’ve never done it, for anyone who knows me knows I have. But normally I play by the rules – to a point that is. You see I like to live dangerously and I am in the habit of ‘walking or toeing the line.’ Yeah I enjoy being right there on the edge, rubbing up against it, occasionally bumping it and pushing up against it to see how much give that damn line has. Unfortunately it doesn’t always have the elasticity I would have hoped for and suddenly I’ve crossed it and get myself in trouble. Oh well, it happens.
So be cautious out there my friends for whether you’re the type who makes it a point to stay as far from the line as possible or you’re like me and like to live close to the line, sometimes fate, kismet or just plain bad luck will find you crossing that line whether you wanted to or not because that line is constantly fluctuating depending on the people you happen to be with. Remember the line is completely discretionary and once you’ve crossed it, believe me there will be hell to pay, oh hell yeah! But hey, Shit happens!