James Lileks
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We are in a water-type emergency situation, as they say, and municipalities have been issuing regulations. Here's the e-mail I got.

Rule No. 1: Watering flowers is permitted. For purposes of this rule, the hundreds of dandelions on your lawn are not flowers. We are well aware that defining one yellow flowering plant as nonessential and another as ornamental is a judgment call, but if you think we're going to let the aquifer get down to the depth of a moist towelette because you want to get technical, you're quite mistaken.

Rule No. 2: The even-odd rule is in effect. You may water "even," or level lawns with no changes in elevation, but only if something "odd," or peculiar, is going on at the moment. For example: You have a flat lawn with a slight slope by the sidewalk. If a person is walking along hopping on one foot and shouting the value of Pi at the top of his lungs, you may water the "even" part, until the person passes.

Update: It has come to the attention of the City Water Department that the previous rule was written by someone unfamiliar with the even-odd concept. The new rule (see below) replaces the previous rule, although we're keeping it on the books in case we want to charge someone with it.

Rule No. 2 (revised): The even-odd rule is in effect. If your house is on the even side of the street, you may not water the first day of a water emergency until all streets have been cleared. On the second day, you may water on the odd side, unless you are on a parkway. On the third day, neither odd nor even eastbound streets may be watered; northbound streets can only be moistened after 6 p.m., unless the street also goes south. Lawns that violate the rule will be uprooted and taken to the City Dump, where they can be retrieved upon payment of fines.

Update: It has come to our attention that the previous rule was written by someone who moved here last winter, was towed six times and is rather bitter about it. We have revised the rules and forward the new version.

Rule No. 2: The even-odd number system has been replaced by the prime-composite system. On Prime day, addresses that contain a prime number may water. On Composite days, addresses that have positive integers capable of division by a positive number (aside from themselves) may water.

Update: It has come to our attention that the previous rule was written by a high school math teacher who told everyone in his class that these things would come in handy in life, and no one believed him.

We have revised the rules, and forward the new version with simpler instructions.

Rule No. 2: The North-South/East-West system is in effect. On every other day that ends with a Y, you may use an oscillating sprinkler between 6 a.m. and 11 a.m., if it is pointed toward the North Pole. On any other day not specified above, it must be oriented perpendicular to the pole, or parallel to the equator.

Update: That rule made complete sense to everyone here in the office, but it turns out we had a minor carbon-monoxide leak.

Turns out it's supposed to rain tonight. Never mind. Don't worry about the lawn. It'll snow before you know it.

james.lileks@startribune.com • Twitter: @Lileks • facebook.com/james.lileks