Wednesday, April 02, 2008

This Etiquette Stuff Is Getting Out Of Hand

This etiquette stuff is getting out of hand.

Tonight, my son asked me if he could have a snack. Of course, I said “no”, because he did not say “please”. He asked me what difference it made if he said the word “please” or not. I told him, for the millionth time, that saying “please” is a matter of etiquette so the person who you are asking knows you are being courteous and sincere. He argued that if the asker is asking in a polite manner, shouldn’t the askee already perceive that the asker is being courteous (although, he didn’t delineate his argument in those words. Instead he chose the words, “So what?”). He had a point.

What difference does it make if we use these magical words of etiquette when communicating with people? If we are treating one another with respect in our speech and our actions, that should be enough. Words of propriety like “please” and “thank you” and “kindly” and “are you gonna finish that” are merely social pitfalls providing overly sensitive people the opportunity to become offended should someone’s discourse not meet their uppity standards. These terms are unneeded formalities that only lead to more dissention in our society. If you do not agree with me then I will fight you, and you will prove my point. Besides, there are too many rules of etiquette to remember.

To simplify this etiquette conundrum for people worldwide, the son and I came up with one word that can be used in any language in any courtesy needed situation to prove to the receiver that the speaker/writer/sign-languager/telepathicer/smoke signaler etc… is being courteous. That word is joad. It should always be used as its own sentence to be presented immediately following the statement or question in need of illustrating the state of politeness. For example: “Pass me the salt. Joad!” I forgot to tell you, the “joad” sentence must always be used exclamatorily so people know you are serious. Here is another example, “That was a lovely used toilet brush you gave us for our wedding. Joad!” Note, the person in the last example could have easily over-enthused and said, “Joad! Joad, very much!” Don’t do that. It’s a little pathetic.

That’s about it for the rules of “joad.” We don’t want to attach too many rules to it. It will only lead to more whining and silent treatments in the world. To acclimate my kids to a courteous life of living with joad, I made them practice using it with each other. The following is an excerpt of their joad training.


“That’s a lovely zit on your face.”

“Joad! Hand me the remote. Joad!”

“Here you go.”

“Joad!”

“No, joad! to you.”

No, really, joad! to you.”

“You’re a joad!”

“No, you are!”

“Uh-uh, you’re the joadiest joad! I’ve ever seen!”

“No, you are!”

“Is that all you can come up with, Joad!”

“Joad! to infinity!”

“Joad! to infinity plus one!”

“One more joad! to you than whatever joad! you said to me!”

“What?!”

“JOAD!”

“JOAD!”

“Why don’t you stick a joad! up your…”

“TIME FOR BED, KIDS!”

2 comments:

lim said...

“Joad! to infinity plus one!” Times 10!

keysunset said...

That's a load of Joads.