Monday, January 24, 2005


So today this kid shows up in class without any shoes on his feet. Health issues aside I think there is a problem here with decency and manners. (Not to mention that the very selfsame person was wearing his hat indoors...another issue entirely.) I'm not perfect. God knows I'm not perfect. But at least I make an effort. What happened to the world that everyone just does what "feels good" and not what is polite, decent, and mindful of other people?

First issue, being polite:
I try very hard to be polite whenever possible. (And if anyone who knows me and finds me being impolite, point it out..."I'll call you on your shit if you please call me on mine" -Propagandhi.) This covers the spectrum from even the most basic things like saying please and thank you to people when you want/receive something. That is just something you have to do, there are no if's, and's, or but's about it. Especially when the person who you are talking to is in the service industry. Don't take advantage of their civility or it may leave you with unidentified ingredients in your food. I once received an email from my mother that was a forward, which are silly by nature, but there was one lasting sentence in this whole electronic mail calling itself "the rules of life" that remains with me still--"If a person is nice to you, but mean to a waiter/waitress, they are not a nice person." But it should not stop there, open doors for others (not just women, but especially the elderly.) Don't wear hats indoors, men. Women, never admit to farting...Girls don't do that--I'm just kidding, women can do whatever they want...this IS the 90s after all. Just be nice to other people.

Second Issue, reflection/disturbing others:
Other people have eyes. Not just that they have noses, sensibilities and ideas about how the world should go. Unless you are an intentionally outstanding jackass you should be ever watchful of overstepping your social bounds when you enter into a situation. Every social situation has an acceptable set of behaviors that can land you in the good graces of anyone, if followed correctly. Basically if you are not able to behave yourself based on the norms of a situation you find yourself in you come across as ill-mannered, boorish, and--above all--selfish. Now, that is all well and good if that is how you want to put yourself out there for the world, but keep in mind that you are not only representing yourself, but also your family, your home town, and anyone else who had a hand in your upbringing. So yeah, you can go around thinking, it's okay if everyone in this room with me thinks that I'm a drunken lout, etc., but you have to remember that a good percentage of them are imagining you being brought up by yetis and shoving porridge down the front of your trousers while watching The Dukes of Hazzard reruns in a hovel somewhere. So do your folks proud and act like an adult, and know how to act out in public. Be cautious. "It is always better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt." I think Twain said that, but don't quote me on that.

Final Issue, dressing yourselves:
Dress like a hobo if you want, that's fine, but don't be mad if you are treated like one. Especially if you stink.

-Andrew R. Leith

p.s.- For those of you who don't know me...or don't know me very well here are some bands that I like, and think you should too:
1. The Smoking Popes-mid nineties emo-ish rock that is mostly about girls (but really Jesus)
2. [early] Lawrence Arms-snotty angry social commentary or melancholy lamentations, depending on who's singing.
3. Alkaline Trio-so sad it hurts...but in a good way.
4. The Dillinger Four-angry sociopolitical rock that takes forever to understand (listen with the lyric sheets out) but once you do gee-whiz is it good stuff.
5. The Weakerthans-every time it reminds me of a laaaazy autumn afternoon...Delightful.
Okay, that's all. Type at you later!

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