Here are even more favorite reader stories from Modern Manners Guy Richie Frieman.
The only glimmer of light here is that Evan took a water gun to the office instead of a paintball gun. Thankfully, I didn’t hear about him because he was on CNN being arrested for assault. Aside from walking into an office with a possible weapon, let’s examine this for a second: a professional who had no beef with his colleagues but decides to “make a statement” before leaving the office for good by dousing his colleagues with water. Huh? In every way possible, this was a terribly unmannerly decision. For starters, being shot with a water gun while saying “Take that, Loser!” would never go over well with anyone. The only way to score points by trying to “go out in style” is by leaving with hugs and smiles. But instead, Evan was escorted out by security, and had his boss press charges. However, Evan did get part of what he wanted; he made a statement and became a legend. Sadly, his new found fame was in the form of grand humiliation and shame. Not exactly what he was going for. Folks, when you’re on the way out, enjoy it and don’t make enemies; to sit back and solidify your relationships, and end on a good note.
Tip #3: Your Kids Break It, You Bought It
Jackie and Charlie (two women) are neighbors from Tampa who have kids the same age and play together every day. Over the summer, Jackie took Charlie’s son Max (age 8) to the pool with her son Andy. On the way home Max decided to draw on her car seat with a Sharpie he found on the floor of her car. Appalled (and rightfully so), Jackie flipped out when she arrived home. I will say, it’s never proper to tell off someone else’s kid. That point aside, however, I get it. I get it big time! I mean, when my own kids get my seats muddy from their shoes, I can’t help but be annoyed, and that’s an accident. Here, Max didn’t make a mistake—he was just being a brat. For whatever reason, he figured her car, that marker, and today was the perfect time to express his artistic talents. In every way imaginable, I agree with Jackie being furious. So, after she took a couple minutes outside of the car to collect herself, she dialed Charlie to deliver the news. That call didn’t go so hot.
Charlie blamed Jackie for having a marker in the car where a child could reach it was the bigger issue, which is a ridiculous argument. However, things got worse when Jackie asked her if she would pay for the damages. Charlie said ‘no’. They went back and forth and Charlie said the best she could do is pay for half, not because she was being cheap, rather because she blamed Jackie for her lack of monitoring Max. Wow! Big time, flippin’ wow, folks. Here we have an unmannerly breakdown on a few levels all thanks to Charlie. In no way shape or form is Jackie to be blamed. Max was 8, he knows what a marker can do, and Jackie was doing her “job” by safely monitoring the road, not wondering if someone may draw on her car. After an argument that broke their neighborly friendship, Charlie was only willing to pay for half, leaving Jackie with a large bill herself. Folks, when it comes to your kids—no matter how messy—if they do something destructive, it’s on your tab. They break something in a store, it’s yours now. They drop fruit juice on your friend’s rug, it’s your job to get it cleaned. And if your child treats someone else’s property as their own personal canvas, it’s now your work of art to take ownership for.
Before I go, one last final thought about a quote I read today: “There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.” (Frank Herbert) With that, even though I’ll be stepping away from the mic, please keep in touch because I promise you my real story is just getting started.
As always, if you have another manners question, I look forward to hearing from you at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on Twitter @MannersQDT, and of course, check back next week for more Modern Manners Guy tips for a more polite life.
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