Way back when, in the Wild West of myth and legend, the hip-swaggering days of Wild Bill Hickok and Billy the Kid and Wyatt Earp and Jesse James and all, you didn't carry a loaded gun into a saloon bar unless you were prepared to use it.
There is a scene about two-thirds of the way through the movie The King's Speech which would have had every person who has ever struggled to articulate a thought, a feeling, an idea cheering in the aisles of their own worst fears.
It seems way too soon to be getting back into the business of serious commentary, so I'll work up to it with an aside or two.
Even columnists have holidays - well, sort of - and this one, laptop chained to his ankles, has fled to parts north.
In a season of resolutions, my own include making better use of all the great amenities that our city and its surrounds have to offer. Here, in no particular order, are 10 good reasons to live in and enjoy Dunedin in 2011.
Be careful of what you wish for, or in the case of your columnist, of what you write, whose name you take in vain, or who you summons as if by magic with a mere time-frayed recollection.
There is nothing quite so magnificent as a consort of bagpipes in full throat and, quite by coincidence, the past two Saturdays I've chanced upon the City of Dunedin Pipe Band baring its teeth down in front of the dentistry school on Great King St.
Thirty years ago last Wednesday, John Lennon was shot and killed outside his New York apartment. At that time, I was paying the rent by working in a trendy whole-food complex in Covent Garden, London.
It takes a tragedy to bring out the poetic soul of the nation. Or so it would seem from the effusion of versifying that has emerged in the wake of the terrible Pike River mine disaster.
There is a little bit of West Coaster in all of us. So remarked Paul Holmes on Sunday morning during an interview with Greymouth Mayor Tony Kokshoorn. He was, of course, alluding to the way in which the unfolding tragedy at the Pike River Coal mine touches us all.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, turkeys do vote for Christmas.
Now where were we when we were so rudely interrupted by all that commotion about the little folk?
Some members of the Government can hardly believe their good fortune at the utter mess the union movement has got itself into over the Hobbit saga.
Gosh, what will we all do with our spare time now that the carnival is over?
On March 25, 1940, John Alfred Alexander Lee, son of Dunedin, delinquent, World War 2 hero, writer and "bolshie" activist was expelled from Michael Joseph Savage's Labour Party.
Subject A was born in Auckland in 1944.
It's not difficult to see why they call it the lucky country: the sun shines, the people smile and the word recession, much less meltdown, is nowhere to be found in the local vernacular.
The thing about hypocrisy is that its unmistakable odour offends the most disparate of sensibilities, political and otherwise. Only the blindly devoted supporters of David Garrett and Rodney Hide cannot see how they have hoisted themselves with their own petard.
And so it goes on. Earlier this week an angry mob in Indian Kashmir, protesting against a group of Christians in Washington who tore up pages of the Koran, torched a missionary school.
After the shock came the earthquake.