Posted in etiquette

Politeness Matters

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It is time. Time for acts of rudeness to be addressed. A superhero is, of course, a nuclear option. Ordinary citizens can be recruited for this purpose, after a ‘politeness check’ is conducted. This is similar to a criminal record check, but focussing on how many times you have said ‘excuse me’ and ‘thank you’ at the appropriate times. And held doors for the elderly.

In this time of carrying around tiny computers more powerful than the entire Apollo space program, we are forgetting basic manners and decorum. I had a slow motion head-on collision with a lady whose smart phone had captivated her attention to such a degree that she was plying the sidewalk like an errant cruise ship piloted by Captain Obvious. She barely said ‘excuse me’ and continued her wayward progress until a fountain or open manhole impeded her progress.

Community service, in the form of sitting and conversing with the elderly might be in order. It is quite a pickle we find ourselves in when that must be doled out as punishment.

Here are some other throwaway ‘rejoinders’. No worries is very popular right now. That is too optimistic a promise to make – that you can transform my life into one with absolutely NOTHING to worry about. I call that a living Hell. Why? Everyone knows that the thing you DON’T worry about is likely the very thing that is going to kill you utterly. No problem, too is troublesome. There is the implication that were there a problem, all bets are off. I would much rather hear ‘Almost no problem, aside from what you’ve just asked me to do’. Doesn’t really roll off the tongue, though.

By the way, I first heard that ‘have a good one’ line from the great This American Life podcast hosted by Ira Glass.