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Polish, Grooming, and Sophistication, Please. . .

The late Gail Shikles Jr. a.k.a. Craig Stevens, in his Guise as Peter Gunn, the very embodiment of jazzy, cool sophistication on the small screen during the late 1950s-early 1960s.

A gentle reminder to readers on this damp, gray Thursday morning at the end of March.  Whether you come from a relatively privileged background, whether you occupy a cubicle and stare at a computer as one of the millions of fleece-clad "analysts" populating the corporate world, whether you work with your hands in a trade or craft, or whether you dig ditches, push a broom, stock shelves, or drive a dump truck, it matters not.  

Let's all do our level best to make ourselves more pleasant company, even when at home with the door closed.  Let's move away from the crass, the boorish, and the crude.   I'll leave it to you to fill in the many blanks that I observe across society on a daily basis, but sometimes I feel as though cattle and goats behave better.

Being "authentic" and/or "relatable," two words that seem to come up a lot in current discourse and almost seem to be excuses in certain instances,  are not the same thing as being just downright common when it comes to personal habits and general conduct.  

Instead, let's cultivate a greater degree of gentility in ourselves.  It's not just nicer for us personally, but it's also more pleasant for those around us, including family, friends, acquaintances, and work colleagues.  

After all, do we really want others to think we have grown up in a barn and know no better?  Do we really want to move around in a noxious green cloud of gross, something akin to an even less couth version of the Peanuts character Pigpen?  How can having a much greater degree of self-respect plus consideration for others be bad things?  Yet there are many, many people walking around who seem to think just that.  

The prevailing attitude seems to be that so called "good manners" are disingenuous, useful only for impressing people when you first meet them.  In other words, "dating behavior."  Once the honeymoon period ends, all bets are off.  Vulgarity becomes the order of the day.  People seem almost proud of their unformed, coarse nature, not unlike a pack of 10-year old boys having a gross out contest in a cabin at summer camp.  Think about it.

But leaving behind and maintaining a good impression of our adult selves is not simply based on first impressions alone, but rather the continuing impression we make as we move through life and interact with others.  Whether that is just once in casual passing, or it is among those with whom we rub elbows on a daily basis.  In my view, a modicum of polish, grooming, and sophistication go a hell of a long way.  They are certainly preferable to the uncultivated alternative that appears to hold sway over so much of life in 2019.  

-- Heinz-Ulrich


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