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Introducing the Rod Stewart Rule

You may have heard people joking about their "list," as in "Well, if Brad Pitt calls ... he's on my LIST!" The idea is that they keep a mental list of three (or five, or 10) celebrities they'll likely never meet, and joke to their partner that should Pitt ever call, they get a free pass on cheating, since he's on their list.

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Sorry, Rod Stewart, but you were the inspiration for the Rule.

I don't have a celebrity cheating list, but I have something similar. I call it the Rod Stewart Rule. In my head, I keep a list of three musical acts that I just can't stand to hear. If one of those acts comes on the radio, I invoke the Rule. The Rule gives me the right to change the station, instantly, no questions asked, no argument, simply because that act is on my list.

As you may have guessed, Rod Stewart is at the top of my list. Before his fans barrage me with angry comments, I'm not debating the man's talent. Just to become qualified for the Rod Stewart Rule you need to be talented and long-lived in the music industry. It would be ridiculous to put Dexy's Midnight Runners on your list since radio stations only ever play one song by them. Rod Stewart is in constant rotation.

That's part of the Rule. Lists are going to vary by person based on the kind of radio stations you listen to. Since my in-car choices are heavy on '70s and '80s hits, so is my list. If you're a death-metal fan, maybe Cannibal Corpse is on your list. If you love Broadway songs, maybe you race to snap the station off every time an Andrew Lloyd Webber tune makes an appearance. Half the fun of the Rule is how personalized it can be. (My other two? The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac, although I sometimes switch out the Mac for Elton John.)

For me, the problem with Rod Stewart is that legendary rasp. It's made him famous, but for me, it's like fingernails on a chalkboard. People love it, that's their right, but what can I tell you? He's on my list. Maybe I once had a cruel teacher with that kind of scratchy voice, or maybe I just heard "Do You Think I'm Sexy?" one too many times.

The beauty about the Rule is that it automatically silences all argument. I love Prince, but if "I Would Die 4 U" comes on the radio and my pal invokes the Rule, I have to turn him off. That's why you only get three choices -- maybe you hate every song the 1980s ever produced, or all country songs, but too bad. You get three strikes only.

Your list can change with time. Maybe I'll grow to love Rod Stewart, or maybe I'll decide one day that Chris Cornell's rasp is way worse than Rod's, and replace him with Soundgarden. Just don't fake it and pretend every song you hate is from someone on your list. You will get caught.

Want to create your own Rod Stewart Rule list? Rod doesn't have to be on it. Maybe your list is Billy Joel, Taylor Hicks, and Amy Winehouse. Or Celine Dion, The Eagles, and Britney Spears. Or ELO, BTO and CCR. You can even bring out the big guns and invoke such venerated acts as The Beatles, The Stones, and The Doors. It's your list! Share them in the comments.