A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster
It occurred to me while reading an instructional book in our vast library entitled, DON’T, a Manual of Mistakes and Improprieties more or less prevalent in Conduct and Speech that I could be of great service to the great unwashed public by passing along a few helpful hints once in a while thereby raising the level of correctness in today’s society. Granted the book was published in England in 1922 so one or two suggestions may not apply today.
One helpful hint I found mildly amusing in this day and age, ‘Don’t carry your hands to your face, pull your moustache or otherwise finger yourself’. The last one is a no-no unless you are among friends and very good friends too I should imagine.
There is an excellent chapter on how one should treat one’s servants. That was ever so informative for us at the Foster residence since we have so many and they can be a surly bunch. ‘Don’t scold your servants in front of your guests,’ was an excellent suggestion. We don’t do that now. Instead we quietly drag them outside in the dead of night, bend them over a saw horse and thrash the rascals with a broom. Or if it is a serious offense like getting into my single malts, a tire iron.
‘Don’t talk about each other in company, avoid deprecatory observations, smiling sneers, or whispered remarks to others about your partner’s weaknesses’ ― unless of course you have a divorce lawyer on speed dial and can run fast.
‘Don’t repeat malicious gossip.’ That’s a ridiculous rule, especially if the rumour is a juicy one and the person being maligned has just left the table to go to the bathroom. Let them guess why everyone is smirking and giggling when they come back. The gentleman will invariably check his fly. Milady will look behind for trailing toilet paper. They may be mildly upset, or possibly furious, but it is all in good fun – unless the person being snickered at is you. Then it is despicable and you should order your guests to leave.
The next few are for the ladies and are very important in maintaining a loving relationship with the man of your dreams, or failing that, your husband. ‘Don’t bother your husband when he comes home dead-tired with a list of your domestic trials and troubles. Always keep a smiling face for that time.’ I like that one.
I should add, if the lord and master falls down and appears to be babbling, the pressures of the office may be getting to him. A back rub, a beer or two, or maybe wearing something kinky may help.
‘Don’t cease trying to attract your husband once you are married’ is important, as is ‘Don’t let your husband see you in torn clothing or any other sign of untidiness.’ The-ten-year-old panties with the hole in the bum, sorry Madge, into the rag bag they go.
Good grammar is important if you wish to leave a good impression on your betters. Don’t say, “Me and Jimbo are going to church.” The proper form is ‘I am going to church. Jimbo is going golfing with the boys and will be late for dinner again.’
‘Don’t show up at an opera after the performance has begun’ – unless Cialis is involved. In that case, the lady should wink slyly to the gals whose toes she is stepping on. The gentleman should high-five his way down the line. If he is over seventy, his fellow male theater devotees should give him a standing ovation. Over seventy-five, an ambulance should be called.
‘Don’t neglect to raise your hat to a lady. If she drops her handkerchief and you pick it up, raise your hat.’ If she drops it a second time, escort her to the nearest motel or bush. Make sure it isn’t your wife’s cousin. That happened to a friend of mine and the next family reunion was a disaster. The police were called.
Table manners are ever so important if we are to rise up the social ladder. We must follow the rules set down by people of good breeding.
If, for instance, your hostess passes you a bowl of something completely inedible, like turnip or a broccoli casserole, all one needs say is, ’No, thank you.’ It isn’t necessary to snarl, “None of that crap for me.” She knows the stuff is crap. Why do you think she’s dumping it on you?