Mr. Manners wields hammer of etiquette
Winter is almost over. Temperatures are rising, and the season is about to change. But our manners must never change. It's time for another edition of Mr. Manners.
Dear Mr. Manners,
I recently played in an All-Star basketball game and broke the nose of one of my opponents, Kobe Bryant, on a hard foul. Did I go too far in an exhibition game?
-- Dwyane W. (Miami)
Dear Mean in Miami,
All-Star games are supposed to be polite, harmless affairs. No one should be careless enough to hurt another player. The NFL players showed great manners in their most recent all-star event, when not a single competitor was tackled in more than 60 minutes of action. It was delightful.
Granted, every exhibition game may not be able to be played with such passive grace as the Pro Bowl. So for you I would suggest you play in an All-Star Game as though every opponent is wearing glasses. Would you hit a man wearing glasses? No, you would not. You would take great care not to hit a man in glasses. Unless that man doesn't even have a vision problem and is wearing clunky hipster glasses in a desperate and sad attempt to look cool. Because everyone would want to punch someone like that. In fact, it's poor manners to not punch someone like that.
Dear Mr. Manners,
I had a longtime working relationship with Tiger Woods. We had a lot of success together and I made millions of dollars thanks to associating with him. However, a couple years ago our partnership ended, and now I have written a tell-all book about my time as his swing coach. Some people seem to have an issue with this. Is it poor manners to write tell-all books?
-- Hank H. (Florida)
Short answer: Yes. Tell-all books are despicable.
In my years as a young manners expert, I studied under Emily Post. Are there stories I could tell? You better believe it. They would shock and horrify you. Let's just say someone ate many a lunch with her napkin still on the table. And a salad fork used to eat dessert? I still get nauseous at the memory. That's just the tip of the iceberg.
I could easily write a book about her that would destroy her reputation, but until publishers give me a larger offer, I would not even consider it.
Dear Mr. Manners,
I recently won a bowling tournament and after clinching it, I exclaimed: "Yes! That is why I did it! ... Are you kidding me? That's right! Who do you think you are? I am! Get it right!" in the direction of my opponent and the fans. Too much?
-- Pete W. (your local bowling alley)
Dear Boastful Bowler,
First of all, thank you for including video. It helps me get a full picture of what happened and also learn a little bit about what "bowling" is.
Yes, what you did was too much. We clearly have a lot of work to do to get you behaving with good manners, and we'll have to work on it incrementally. One thing I noticed immediately: Were you wearing sunglasses -- mid-1990s baseball sunglasses of all things -- indoors? Wearing sunglasses indoors is rude. Wearing dated sunglasses is even worse. Let's drop the shades for your next bit of "bowling" and see if that changes any of your other behavior, up to and including not screaming out boasts that make no sense.
Finally, in researching this "bowling" so I could better address your situation, I came across a movie about bowling called "The Big Lebowski." It seems like a very violent activity full of miscreants and pedophiles. As such, you may want to think twice about screaming at a fellow "bowler," lest you be physically harmed.
Sincerely, who do you think you are?
I am, Mr. Manners
Dear Mr. Manners,
My husband recently lost the Super Bowl. After the game, a fan heckled me, and cameras happened to catch me blaming his receivers for dropping all of his passes. Did I do something wrong? I was upset, and my comments were not intended for the general public. I didn't know cameras were nearby.
-- Gisele B.-B. (New York)
Dear Bride of a Loser,
All of the technology in our modern culture can make any of us look rude. If we let down our guard for even a moment, someone can catch it on video, post it on YouTube and destroy our reputations.
I recently had a similar incident. I went into town to go ascot shopping, and I saw a parking spot open directly in front of Pierre's Ascotery. What fortune! Suddenly, another car shot past -- quite rudely, I must say -- and attempted to take the spot. But my driver quickly cut him off and pulled in with a flawless parallel parking job. I could have left it at that, but I had Winston, my driver, lower my window and I yelled out at the driver of the other car: "Who do you think you are? I am!" Would you know it -- a young person caught it all on his smart phone camera and posted the video on RudeTube (a manners video-sharing site). The video was the talk for weeks in etiquette circles.
Thankfully, I was eventually able to quiet all of the hubbub by threatening to write tell-all books about all of my colleagues. The lesson is this: Our modern world demands us to be on our manners game at every moment.
P.S. -- Wait ... are you married to Mr. Tom Brady? He's the man who tried to take my spot outside of Pierre's! It's a good thing we resolved our differences inside the store, tensions eased by our love of fine fashion, or I'd have half a mind to deliver this letter to your address personally and beat him about the face!