The more difficult it is to procure a stick (say from a thicket of briars, tick-infested grass, or the clutches of a snarling muskrat), the more valuable said stick becomes.

Any stick that has touched a rotting carcass or been rotting carcass-adjacent must become part of the permanent collection immediately. Bones count as sticks.

As the likelihood for impalement increases, so does perceived and actual stick quality. Treat all such high-quality sticks with reverence by holding them point-up and near your face at all times.

It is perfectly reasonable—nay, expected—to collect every stick you encounter.

You never have to explain yourself while stick collecting.

All sticks can simultaneously function as small pets, firehoses, teleports, pterodactyls, shovels, photon blasters, wizard wands, baby siblings, sporks, Hailey’s Magical Playhouse, the collective consciousness of the family of robins living outside your window, replacement fathers or anything else.

Sticks have feelings.

You reserve the right to re-rank sticks at any point during stick procurement, including sticks overlooked earlier in a walk. If efforts to return and collect such previously passed-over sticks are thwarted or inconvenienced in any way by an adult, do not hesitate to rain down righteous hellfire and fury, including, but not limited to, slack-shouldered banshee howling towards the heavens.

You are the only one who understands your sticks.

Never let anyone hold you back with questions like, “How are we going to carry all these sticks home?” or “We already have a bit of an insect issue in your room, why don’t we just pick our favorite stick?”

Fallen tree trunks do indeed count as sticks. If your adult will not aid your acquisition of such sticks, they forfeit their rights to “go home” or “have a nice, quiet walk without getting the chainsaw out.”

Go where the sticks take you. If that is in the opposite direction of the house, so be it.

If anyone questions your stick expertise at any point, you are within your rights to sit down in any nearby puddle and scream-cry inconsolably. It is also acceptable in such a situation to hang lifelessly from an adult’s hand as they drag you home.