The Art Of
A true story:
The phone rang in my dorm room on a Saturday afternoon, and I expected nothing unusual in picking it up. Certainly not the situation that followed.
"Hi, is Janet there?"
"Uh, no, she doesn't live here." That's me. As far as I could tell at this point, whoever was on the other line was looking for the girl who used to live here before me.
"Oh. Well can you look up her number for me?" A tone of total expectancy.
"I . . . guess so."
I dug out a directory and looked up a complete stranger's number for another complete stranger. Then I apologized for not being the person she was looking for and hung up without receiving one word of thanks.
* * * * * * *
Right about now, you're probably thinking the same thing I thought a few minutes after hanging up the phone, which would be "Why did I just do that?"
Now don't get me wrong, I'm never above going out of my way to help someone, even someone I might not actually know, but aside from the fact that it was a pretty strange request to fill, I was getting some major attitude from the person on the other line.
She pretty much gave me the impression that the only reason I was even in "Janet's" room was to forward her calls, and not because I actually lived there.
There's two points to this little story. The first is that in this world of flawed etiquette, we are so concerned with ingratiating ourselves to others that we all too often exceed the bounds of common courtesy and launch into a practice that continually annoys me, what I like to call "the unnecessary apology."
The second is that the aforementioned incident happened at least three months ago and I'm still fuming over that call.
Combined, these two facts led me to conclude that I alone am now able to save society from itself. As far as I'm concerned, the biggest problem with our modern, politically correct nation--aside from the fact that we use the term "politically correct" way too much--is that people just don't know The Art of the Grudge anymore.
We've all become statistics in a Miss Manners world, dominated and controlled by etiquette, etiquette, etiquette.
Well no longer. Yes, now you too can learn how to hold a grudge that lasts a lifetime. You can get that chip on your shoulder in no time. Read on to acquire this essential talent.
(Go on to Lesson 1)
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