Whatever happened to manners?

Home Editorial & Opinion Whatever happened to manners?

by Justin Otto

As I live my life day to day, I am faced with this question. This is an especially perplexing question as I am from Pensacola, FL – which, in case you aren’t up to date on your geography, is in the Southeastern United States.

The reason I bring this up is because of a phrase that is thrown around a lot, but is very seldom actually put into action these days by the majority of the population in this Podunk hamlet. The phrase is Southern Hospitality, but what it really boils down to is having a sense of manners.

I am still a “yes, sir,” “no, ma’am” type of guy. I hold doors for people; I say “thank you” and “you’re welcome.”

I also notice that it is very often that I hold a door for someone and don’t get the obligatory “thank you” for my efforts… I mean, is it that hard to stop for 1.8 seconds and say “thanks?” It took me longer to hold the door than it takes just to say it.

I see motorists stranded on the side of the road very often, and while I don’t ALWAYS stop to help them, I have been known to change a tire or two for random strangers.

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe the people that were brought up with some sense of actual morality are a dying and finite breed.

Have you ever gone over the Bob Sykes Bridge and just paid for the person behind you as well? Well, I have. And it only cost me one extra dollar to make someone’s day – one dollar to show someone that not everyone out there is a self-absorbed automaton. Most of you people spend more than that on your morning triple cream macchiato with a raspberry splash or whatever the hell kind of coffee you people drink nowadays.

It gets especially bad around this time of year when people have the Kris Kringle-lust in their beady eyes and start drooling like the loup-garou at the sight of whatever the new big seller of the season is as you kick and claw your way through the lines of other delightful shoppers with the same “Christmas Spirit.”

Is it that hard to just be nice to people? I’m no Christian, so I won’t go espousing Christian theology at you, but is it so hard to live by the maxim: “do unto others as you would have done unto you?”

Would you like to be stranded on the road without help or have a door unceremoniously slammed in your face for no other reason than the person in front of you just doesn’t care? I wouldn’t think so, but I’m not you. I’m me.

So this Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza or whatever strange yuletide holiday you get to suffer through with your family and friends, just endeavor to be a little nicer. And mean it. Hold a door for someone; don’t get into a fit of blind rage in a traffic situation; just be a moral human being for once. It’s really not that hard, and at the end of the day you might actually feel like a better person for it. I can’t guarantee that, but it might just work.

I suppose this is what happens in a town that thinks it is far larger than it actually is and tries to be “progressive.” People change as the times change, and people lose sight of what is really important. What makes a town are the people, and at this point most of you make me sick. But that’s just my opinion.

Leave a Reply