Sunday, June 17, 2012

Time for a Gentle Spanking!

No, this isn't anything to do with "that" book. This is something that's been bugging me for a while now and it's bad enough that I feel the urge to blog about it.

MANNERS!!! Courtesy, politeness, good manners, decorum, whatever you'd like to call it, it's GONE. The ability to communicate pleasantly with another human being. Or even your dog. Why every greeting needs to involve the words "muthaf***er" - or seems to - I have no clue, since I've never slept with a mother. It's inaccurate, crude and if you've forgotten my name there are other ways to deal with it.

Case in point. Checkout at my local outlet store. Customer is waiting for the clerk to check another store for a dress (which she shouldn't have been wearing anyway) in another size. She's fidgety, frowning and can't wait for the call to complete without making a general comment about the slowness of these things. It's SATURDAY, you raving nutter. The store is crowded, the clerk is taking time to help you out with a favor, just chill. So of course the answer is finally, sorry, ma'am, not available. Instead of a shrug and a thank you, the woman flounces out with a disgusted mumble. The clerk, probably sick and tired of the entire human race and ready to hitch hike to Alpha Centauri Prime, sighs and takes my small purchase. Her day will go on.

But wouldn't it have been a tad better if that bitch had at least thanked her? It doesn't take that much time, folks. Two words. Or one if you run them together. Thank you. Same for please. I raised my kid to use those words; to not be afraid of them or think they made his penis look shorter. It would seem that nobody is teaching that today, since there's a generation out there who thinks "Yo" is a multipurpose expression that will cover everything from quantum physics to the throes of childbirth.

While face-to-face communications are slowly sinking into the turgid mud of slipshod vulgarity, I'm finding emails/technical correspondence even WORSE!!!! Yes. Gasp. LOL I don't include texts here. That is a new and developing language that some day may override our current tongues. Books will contain four chapters, each plot line will be allocated 145 characters and libraries will slowly spiral down into a black hole which emerges several thousand years ago. To the amazement of the Sumerians or whomever. I dunno.

What I do know is that emails don't use my name, speak to me as if I was a thing, not a person, and more often than not include a signature line that deserves its own ISBN number. This does, of course, indicate how important that person is compared to me.


Have we forgotten how to say "Dear /Name/" or even "Hi, /Name/"? Have we forgotten that the people on the other end of the SEND button are PEOPLE? That they are deserving of courtesy even if there's a complaint in the body of the email? Asking for help, resolution, assistance or money... it can all be done without resorting to a "GIMME" email. There are phrases out there that might take a bit more time to type. Things like "I would appreciate your help with this." Or "I'd like to confirm that you have all the information you need for this project? If not, please let me know."

Oh GOD.. I used the "P" word. PLEASE!!! That sin will get me kicked out of the "couldntgiveashit" club for sure. And yet...isn't it better to be asked something unpleasant in a pleasant way? It doesn't change things, but the "color" of the matter shifts from dark to light. Our lives contain enough darkness as it is. Why not make it a point to go for more light?

I guess it all boils down to that old-fashioned word "manners". I was raised to have 'em, and use 'em. I tried to pass that along to my son and I'm proud as hell when someone asks after him and tells me what a great lad he is. They do. Really. I'm not making this up. So why aren't more kids exploring the concept of manners? When did it go out of style? It's not prissy Victorianism to ask for something with a smile and a please. Nor is it weakly pathetic to thank someone who has just done something nice. Or to say "Bless you" when someone sneezes.

Come on people. We all live here. We interact now and again. We sneeze on each other. (Yeah, I know, but it happens.) Try a little kindness now and again, throw in a thank you to that next email and see if you get it back. Smile!

Remember - the Mayans may be right. You want your last words to be "Muthaf***er"? I don't.

Something to think about,
Sahara Kelly

Check out HIRED HELP - released this week at all the usual venues. Another crazy novella from S.L. Carpenter and Sahara Kelly.