What a strange place America has become. My parents taught me to be polite – say “yes sir” and “no ma’am” and “please” and “thank you.” It seemed like overkill at the time, but I’ve grown to really appreciate those simple niceties. Plus, I feel better about myself when I treat others with respect and dignity – whether they’ve earned it or not. Holding the door for someone is almost a sacred duty – something you do to show esteem for your fellow man. Thanking someone who returns the favor should be an automatic.
Of course, we all know times ain’t what they used to be – especially where manners are concerned. As a society, I find us to be rude, insensitive, obnoxious, accusatory, boorish, inappropriately opinionated, and outright nasty. And I’d just love to blame it all on the so-called younger generation (“Oh, those kids!”), but it’s the older folks who tick me off the most. Who yelled “You lie!” at the President during his State of the Union Address? It sure wasn’t some hip hopper strapped to the nines. I once heard an octogenarian proclaim it was her right to block the grocery aisle, saying “You can just f-ing wait until I’m through!” And we did.
At the risk of sounding all high and mighty and without becoming too much of a royal suck-up, I go out of my way to be polite. I don’t need to trample others to be first in line. I always thank my waitress for that refill or apologize when I spill something. I won’t force you off the road, occupy two parking spaces or sneak into the one you’ve been patiently waiting for. I try my best to be a civil, reverential person who realizes the world hasn’t revolved around me since I stopped wearing diapers. But alas, we are a dying breed, I fear, and by way of proof I offer these true events of extreme inconsideration I’ve compiled over the past few months. See if any of these ring a bell, or maybe it’s just me.
1. She opened her car door into mine with so much force that it left a dent. She smirked and said, “That’s what you get, asshole.” What? No “sorry”? She, of course, was parked on an angle.
2. “I only have one item,” she said, pushing her way to the front of the checkout. The gentleman who was next only had two.
3. Blinker on, when I sped up, he sped up. When I slowed down, so did he. I missed my exit, and he gave me the finger as a bonus.
4. The man parked in my daughter’s assigned space, so she parked in his. He knocked on the door and told her she had to move her “piece of shit” because he was having a friend over and that’s where he told her to park.
5. Someone changed the baby’s diaper in the pasta aisle and placed the soiled garment on top of the San Giorgio rotini boxes. Yum!
6. During a difference of opinion, a cashier called the Sikh gentleman a “towel-head terrorist.”
7. Unsolicited, the lady told another woman looking through a dress rack, “don’t buy any of those, honey. You’re way too fat to wear stripes.”
8. It was suggested loudly that old people should have their own line so “the rest of us don’t have to wait for them to count their change.”
9. In one day, I held the door four times without a “thank you,” had three doors slammed into my face, and experienced two line jumpers.
10. “The founding fathers died so we wouldn’t have to deal with minorities, Mexicans and the gays.” Succinct and to the point I’d say, albeit grossly inaccurate and… Aw shucks – stupid.
“Where on earth do you live, dude? That kinda stuff never happens in my neighborhood.” Sure it does – you’ve just become desensitized to it. Or maybe you’re one of the guilty. It happens everywhere, cuts across all races, income brackets, age groups, religions, and political parties. We’ve become a nation of unappreciative, ill-mannered cretins, and I’m not sure how long we can survive like this before the next war we fight is with ourselves. There’s no love these days. Oh! And don’t forget – the polite thing to do is to click the “like” button below. 🙂
Voices From Forever by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/ZBBmj Available on Amazon
There Is No Silence by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/U6KY7 Available on Amazon.