A Sign of the Times Sunday- Mr. Common Courtesy and Miss Manners

Mr. Common Courtesy was a gentleman who made his presence known in the smile of a passing stranger, a door held open, or a wave of the hand to show "thanks" in such a simple gesture. His sister, Miss Manners, was a fine lady of esteem who always remembered her "please," and "thanks you"'s, and she always wore herself in such a tactful manner.

Sadly, both Mr. Common Courtesy and Miss Manners are growing frail. They are rarely acknowledged by mere strangers, let alone some family members. And unlike poor dying Tinkerbell, we cannot bring them back to health by merely believing in them; we must be active in our attempts to rehabilitate them to their fullest. We must educate others about this grave situation so as to preserve both Common Courtesy and Manners for future generations to enjoy.

The above is more than just a simple jest at the state of social graces. It is an example of a  serious problem in modern society; we as a whole suffer from a lack of manners and common courtesy.

In days of not so yore, people would wave as they drove passed one another, or to show thanks when someone was kind enough to let them into a lane on the freeway. Nowadays, you'll be lucky if someone even looks your way once you've let them in, or  as they drive passed.

Walking down the street, people would nod to say "hello," (or they'd actually SAY "hello"), or at the very least they would smile. Now, you're lucky if a person even acknowledges you're there by looking at you.

Holding the door open for the next person about to enter the store is also a common courtesy who has had the door slammed in its face all too often lately. And that won't be the last one to die a slow and painful death.

As for manners, while in the grocery store, people just stand there and stare if you're in the way. Forget the fact that you were there first! In the "old" days it would be required of a person to say "excuse me" should they need to get passed. Not anymore....they just stare until you feel uncomfortable and guilty, and eventually move.

We live in a world of wonderful technological advances. Unfortunately, that same technology which makes life so much easier, also has hindered us as a people. In general, we are plugged in and tuned out; connected, yet disconnected. And it isn't just the young whippersnappers, either! I've come across several people of an older generation who just expected the world around them to do what they wanted, without so much as a "please," "thank you," or "excuse me."

Don't get me wrong, I am generalizing here. Of course there are those wonderful families (like mine) who hold on to those old values and practice them consistently. There are also certain parts of the world where the courtesy and manners thing is more essential than others. But, in general as a nation, our self importance is really taking its toll on ole Mr. Common Courtesy and Miss Manners.

"Manners are of more importance than laws. Manners are what vex or soothe, corrupt or purify, exalt or debase, barbarize or refine us, by a constant, steady, uniform, insensible operation, like that of the air we breathe in."
-Edmund Burke (1729-1797)