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The Death of Manners

Updated on February 8, 2018
DzyMsLizzy profile image

Peace, harmony, and lifelong learning are Liz's passions. She's outspoken on education and childhood and is an activist in local politics.

Dearly Beloved.....

....we are gathered here today to mourn the passing of an old friend. Courtesy was with us for many years; always standing ready to ease awkward situations, release tension, and provide for the smooth functioning of society.

We were shocked to learn of the brutal murder of Courtesy at the hands of a gang of ruffians by the names of Rudeness, Selfishness, Disrespect, Hatred, and Impatience.

Internment of a Beloved Friend

It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we recognize the now almost universal membership in these gangs, and the near impossibility of the murderers ever seeing justice. These are not your ordinary hoodlums who can be apprehended, jailed and tried in a court of law.

Nay, these are gangs of the mind. They are the crimes of self-serving interests. They are the result of children who have been allowed to do as they choose; who have not been taught proper forms of address, respect for others or their property.

Courtesy used to hold doors open for the frail or elderly, or for anyone who had their hands full. Courtesy used to 'beg pardon' upon bumping into someone in public, or realizing he was in someone's way.

Courtesy said "Please," and "Thank you," and did not expect anything in return.

When Courtesy went calling, he waited to be offered a candy or snack. Just because a candy dish or snack jar was on display, he did not make assumptions and help himself.

The New Way

Since the death of Courtesy, people have begun acting as if they are each the only inhabitant on the planet.

No one seems to realize, as they stand gawking at the wares on store shelves, that they and their cart are blocking the entire aisle so no one else can get through.

People race past on the street in their cars. "Me first!" their actions say, as they zoom past impatiently. How often have you seen this same impatient driver stopped just a car ahead of you at the very next red light? That impatient burst of speed gained them little, and cost them an extra burst of fuel. But, they just had to be first.

Courtesy used to stop or pause and let another driver into the traffic stream. No more. Heaven forbid anyone should get in front of the all-important "me!"

Courtesy was aware of others at all times, and did not get stuck in the egotistical "all about me" stage of a 2-year-old child. He would never have even considered having a cell phone turned on during a stage performance or a movie. He would not have had to be asked via a general announcement, to turn it off. It would have already been off, or left at home.

Neither would he have walked all around the grocery store carrying on a phone conversation the entire time. What is all that important to discuss, that one cannot even go shopping without being on the phone, distracted, and unaware of other shoppers? Nothing, that's what! If an emergency occurs, and the phone call was delivering information about said emergency, Courtesy would thank the caller, hang up, and leave the store and the shopping for another time as he went to tend to the problem.

Courtesy used to stop and help someone pick up their belongings if dropped. Now, the gangs just ignore the event, or point and snicker. A request for assistance brings a sassy snarl from these gangs, or outright laughter. What has gone wrong?

There are yet a few who still believe in manners and helpfulness; who do not shove others out of the way; who wait their turn patiently. Let us reward them with a sincere "thank you" when we are the recipients of their caring concern.

A Rumor...

There is a rumor going around that says our friend Courtesy may yet be revived. If enough people consciously think about it, and remember that there are others sharing this world, it may not be too late.

The ambulance is on the way, but it is up to each of us to be sure it is the ambulance and not the coroner's wagon that arrives. We need to apply the electrodes now, to shock Courtesy back to the living, and do it quickly. The electrodes are random acts of kindness and selflessness.

We do so miss our dear friend, Courtesy. Let us all be aware of our actions, and begin in the re-training of our young--the younger, the better--in the ways of Courtesy and Kindness. We may yet be able to bring back our dear friend.

© 2010 Liz Elias


Submit a Comment
  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    9 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, Spirit Whisperer, I

    'm pleased you liked this article. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment!

  • Spirit Whisperer profile image

    Xavier Nathan 

    9 years ago from Isle of Man

    Very well said and in a way that will not alienate the people it is meant for. Brilliant.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    10 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hi, RTalloni!

    Thank you so much! I'm glad you liked this article. You are so correct in saying courtesy needs exercise--just like muscles!

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    Bravo! We need to exercise it. And give it lots of oxygen in open air. It needs us to display its glories by constant use. At our best we will do all this with a smile!

    Good stuff! :)

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    10 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hi Sally--

    LOL--I've used similar tactics when someone has bumped into me without apology--I'll say, "You're excused..." As you say, there is usually no acknowledgement, but hopefully the hint corrects them for next can only hope.

    Thanks for stopping by! Your input is always appreciated.

  • Sally's Trove profile image


    10 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

    My favorite Pearldiver tactic is to say with a sweet smile and a direct look in the eye, after I've held the door open for someone behind me who does not bother to say "Thank you", "You are soooo welcome." Few bother to acknowledge this tactic except by shrinking away as if they've spied leprosy.

    After reading your first few words, I was tempted to say, "May he rest in peace." However, I agree with you that there is hope, and the hope begins with children...or maybe people who survive near-death experiences.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    10 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hi there, Micky--

    Thanks for stopping by.. yes, humor always eases tension. Holding the door, yes, good...and a thank-you to the door holder is also in order. ;-)

    I recall one time in the grocery store a young child was pushing a cart for her mom, and needed to get a product from in front of where I was standing. To my shock and delight, she said, "Excuse me, please." I stood aside, she got what she needed and went on her way. I watched where she went, and when I was fairly sure which woman was her mom, I went up to her, asked, "Is this your little girl?"

    The mom at first looked apprehensive, as if she feared a report of wrong-doing, but said, "Yes, she is." I then said, "I want to compliment you on raising a very well-mannered, polite child."

    The mom looked almost as shocked as she had initially, then it sunk in that both she and her child had been complimented, and she said, "Thank you!" ..She went on her way smiling..I'm sure it made her day.

  • Micky Dee profile image

    Micky Dee 

    10 years ago

    Being courteous allows us to be very human and get that human touch. I took up my Dad's way of holding a door for everyone or anyone and especially men. Then Dad would always say kidding, regardless of how old the person was, "age before beauty". It's a joke and everyone knows it. It gets a smile. Of course this is a man to man joke. Thank you DzyMsLizzy!

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    10 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Thank you, Christine and sanfayedr...I am glad you both liked the article. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment! Cheers!

  • sanfayedr profile image


    10 years ago from Wherever I am at the time.

    I am pleased you have had the chutzpah to put this in print.

    Just today I had a totally unexpeptected verbal 'non courteous'experience. I still find it shocking when it happens.

    Makes for a bad day all around.

    Keep smiling :)

  • Christine B. profile image

    Christine B. 

    10 years ago from Medina, Ohio

    Isn't it sad that we all can't treat each other decently? What a much better world it would be if we all believed in Karma... and understood that what we send out to the Universe is exactly what we get back. Send out love . . . what could it hurt?

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    10 years ago from Oakley, CA

    LOL Pearldiver... Thanks for stopping by and leaving an insightful comment. .... .. and I like your closing sentiment! ;-)

  • Pearldiver profile image

    Rob Welsh 

    10 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

    Well Done DML.. It seems that Courtesy is rapidly being replaced with a rising star called Apathy. I'm told that it has been impossible to document the amazing rise in popularity of Apathy; as it has left so many dumbfounded and completely useless!

    I have found that to remain relatively unaffected by this new scurge; one should partake in the practice of responding with a balanced blend of Courtesy, Arogance, Sarcasm and Head Shaking. This works more often than not. On those ocassions that this does not work; then Abuse Them with remarks about their medication and the usual position of their head!

    Good Hub.. Take Care.


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