I was reminded recently, (this morning, via a message on Face book, from a former student my my husband's), that I always told people, "When in doubt, say 'thank you' or 'I'm sorry.'"
Obviously I've gotten way more rude in the 19 years since I said that. Of course I say, Thank you, all the time. That's just normal manners. And I still say "I'm Sorry," frequently, but it's usually in a sentence such as this: I'm sorry you're too clueless to understand that what you're telling me is completely without merit.
Probably not what I had in mind when, at the ripe age of 23, I was in charge of molding young female minds. What was anyone thinking, putting me in charge of 7th and 8th grade girls?
I have, in the past 20 plus years, amassed other bits of wisdom that I try and pass on to those young people who ask me. (Even if they don't ask...aren't I nice?) I don't pretend to have the answer to life (unless the question is: why do we suffer so much pain? In which case I'll say, "Oh because you obviously have a membership at Gold's Gym.") but I have discovered that following some of this advice will help you avoid some of life's biggest pitfalls.
First, the list I repeat to my children every day:
1) Don't Drink.
2) Don't Smoke
3) Don't do drugs
4) Keep your clothes on
Hey, I watch Maury Povich. I know that if people would follow these four points there would be no Maury Povich show. Or Jerry Springer. Or Steve Wilkos. And maybe then CBS wouldn't be cancelling the greatest show of all: As The World Turns. (Yes, in my circular logic, everyone who doesn't follow my four points is guilty of cancelling a 54 year old soap opera.)
Then there's the dating advice I give out:
Girls: Date low brass players.
These are the guys who are used to carrying heavy loads, so they are ready for your baggage. Also, they aren't the alpha males of the band, the trumpet players, so they are already used to taking a back seat role. Which means they can step back and let you be the star. Chances are, they can walk and carry heavy things, so shopping endlessly is no problem with them. And, since they aren't trumpet players, they don't come with that rock star mentality. They try harder. (Did I date one, or did I date trumpet players...you be the judge.)
Guys: avoid the pretty girls.
The old song used to be "If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, never make a pretty woman your wife." There is a certain amount of truth to that. Everyone wants to date the "Pretty girl." Well, guys, I'm here to tell you there's a big dif between a "pretty girl" and a "Beautiful girl." The difference between the two is simple: One frets over her fingernails in every situation. The other does not. On a side note: Glasses do not make a woman smarter. I was watching the news today and the hot traffic chick got "smarted up" with glasses and a severe pony tail. They can ugly her up...she's still the dimwitted traffic chick.
My Marriage advice:
Ladies: Learn to like football.
Just do it. Trust me, it's well worth it. First of all, the times are predictable. Unlike baseball, basketball, hockey, and any other sport, football is mostly Sunday. Saturday is college football. Monday is one game. That's it. Even the playoffs are pretty much Sunday. Also, the season is only 18 weeks long. Other sports are up to six months. Hey, basketball starts in October and isn't over until JUNE. Also, you can learn the rules of football easily. They explain the rules pretty much after every play. You'll be a rock star in your husband's eyes.
Men: Figure skating and gymnastics are sports. Period.
So when the wife asks you to watch a little figure skating after she's sat through 9 hours of football, DO IT.
Now, some rules of etiquette that are sort of vital to a happy life in general.
1) Please and thank you and I'm sorry.
It gets noticed, if you say them and if you don't. It will affect how much money Grandma puts in your next birthday card.
2) Hold the door
I don't care if you're in a hurry. Hold the door for the person behind you. Open the door and step aside for someone older than you are, for someone with small children, for a soldier, for a person with a cane, walker, or wheelchair.
3) Do not discuss politics, religion, or your general dissatisfaction with your mother at a Partylite Party.
I'll talk about this more in a later post. Trust me...
4) Keep promises and return phone calls.
We are a society with a dozen ways to keep in touch. And a dozen ways to ignore people.
5) Flush, look back, and flush again.
Oh you knew this was going to end up in the bathroom, didn't you?
|Yes, hello, Mumsy? I am calling to thank you for the delightful dinner last evening. Yes, Beatrice and I thoroughly enjoyed the Beef Wellington, and the wine you chose was ever so charming...|
Now, go forth and follow these guidelines. I'm not promising a perfect life, but at least you'll avoid getting the stink eye.