Now that Halloween trick-or-treating is behind us for another year here in the United States of Entitlement, I'll say what I've been thinking for many, many years. Something that surely must make me seem like an ancient fuddy-duddy with one foot in the grave already. Ready?
For the love of Pete, when you receive something, anything, whether it's a big-ticket item, a small favor performed for you by a friend, spouse, or partner, or just a free party-sized Mounds Bar or two dropped into your plastic pumpkin trick-or-treat bucket, the correct response boys and girls is "Thank you."
It was astounding the number of times last night when I had to ask groups of children, most of whom were well above the age of six or seven, "What's the OTHER magic word?" when I doled out free candy treats before wishing them a fun and safe evening. Not surprising, mind you, it's like this every year, but mildly frustrating nevertheless. To be fair, there were a few children who said thank you without being reminded, but they were very few in number. Maybe five or six during the designated three-hour window in our town for trick-or-treating.
Especially galling was that, more often than not, Mom and/or Dad were standing nearby in the background totally mute and with stupid grins on their faces. Only a few of them said thank you on behalf of their rude children. And we live in a really nice part of town. One might think that (mostly) college educated people with what used to be considered white collar, office-type jobs -- back when turning up in polished, business appropriate attire mattered more than it does now -- might have at least a modicum of social grace. I guess not. Clearly, rudeness is possible across all education and income levels.
Keep in mind, it is not that I expect anyone to bow down at my feet and kiss my hand on the front doorstep. A simple thank you would be nice though. Especially since these are children and adults we never see in our neighborhood (with one exception) the rest of the year. How about it? Is that really asking so much? There appear to be many, many parents out there, who have a great deal to answer for since it does not seem like they are providing the basic building blocks that might ensure their children can function within a civil society.
Do these adults really not know any better themselves? Was it always like this? Or did enough of my parent's generation work so hard in the late 1960s and early 70s to reject certain teachings and practices of previous generations that basic civility also went out the window? And does the apparent growing lack of even rudimentary social skills bother anyone else who must figuratively sit across the table from it? Time for a double single malt methinks.
The pithy, opinionated, and sometimes brutally frank Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke challenges average guys to live a life less ordinary and embrace classic style in the broadest sense. it's time to rise above the trite, the boring, the predictable, the mundane, the banal, and the commonplace. It's time to stop behaving like barnyard animals at the trough and leave behind the perpetually sloppy man-child aesthetic of the last two decades or so. It's time to learn once again how to present and conduct yourself like an adult with some grooming, finesse, and sophistication. And here is where you can learn how.