Sunday, March 18, 2012


No place are declining social graces more glaring than inside a house of worship. Sadly, it is regarded as common place, but whether it be inside a church, temple, synogogue, basilica, cathedral or chapel - inappropriate behavior is not only rude, but irreverent and about as subtle as the parting of the Red Sea.
The Catholic Guy's Lino Rulli has devoted entire radio shows to the topic, and places of worship do their best to remind the faithful through weekly or monthly bulletins, but the word according to the book of decency is still falling on plenty of deaf ears.
This weekend, at the rear of a Catholic church where a newly-installed Bishop was presiding over a Confirmation service, there stood a disinterested family, taking photos on their i-phone, then critiquing their shots. All the while the Celebration of Mass was underway, as jaws dropped and eyeballs rolled.
A few rows up, sat others chewing away their afternoon. Standing along the aisle, still others giggled.
Holy Inappropriateness! What happened to reverence, I wondered? Have people forgotten, or has no one been taught about such basic public behavior? I would have been wacked from here to Dublin with the wooden ruler of Sister Mary Mighty.
Another set of commandments, one reserved for civilized behavior inside a place of worship, is long overdue.
1. Thou Shalt not chew gum. De-clase, no matter how expensive the clothing you are wearing.
2.Thou Shalt not allow children to disrupt. If you didn't bring along small toys for fidgety youngsters, find the crying room, or take the kids outside.
3. Thou Shalt not talk. Whispering is as distracting as giggling.
4. Thou Shalt not use electronic devices, even if you are desperate to get in touch with your maker. If you can't be disconnected for an hour in worship, you belong in the confessional!
5. Thou Shalt not be late. All eyes, ears and intentions should be focused forward, not on the entrance to the venue.
6. Thou Shalt dress appropriately. I know, this is subject to absurd interpretation, but for starters, men, hats off; ladies, if you or anyone else at home thinks you look like a Vegas show girl, cover up.

Remember, too, that even though you may not practice the service's particular faith, common courtesy and consideration of others knows no specific denomination. After all, 'It Manners A lot'!

Monday, March 12, 2012


Tipping is nothing new. It is customary in many circles for a variety of services. Even the rise in recent years in the number of 'tip jars' at unlikely walk-up counters as the economy began to fall doesn't even faze most anymore. But yesterday, I discovered, it IS possible to take that twist-on-making-a-fast buck to an even more ridiculous level. The automated self-serve car wash. Really?!
Those 'tip' containers are so commonplace at burger joints and coffee stops, that it took a minute to re-sensitize my sensibilities. Then I wondered, for what service am I expressing my delight with the superb treatment? How politely that car wash cheerleader took my money and handed me a trash bag? Come to think of it, that guy with the perma-smirk did manage to wave me onto the automated rails without incident or mowing him down, and I did understand what he meant when, using sign language, he pointed to the instructions on the wall that told me to put my vehicle in neutral. But from there I really was on my own. Maybe I deserve a tip! I was the one guiding my vehicle onto those automated rails through the Lava lather rinse. I was the one who did the heavy lifting/vacuming. But by the time I reached the green light to exit (by myself), I was still wondering who else would reap from any moneys deposited in that 'tip' container? Mmmmmm....the guy who empties the trash containers, maybe? The landscaper? The automotive repairmen across the street? This is a slippery slope, I know.
For the record, when I'm not in a hurry, and take my office-on-wheels to be handwashed, I can be accused of going overboard when it comes to tipping. They deserve it, every wipe, wax and swish of the vacuum.
But when we are expected to treat the person who guides us into the do-it-yourself car wash with the same monetary expression of appreciation as we would our hairstylist or the concierge, something has really gone haywire. After all, 'It Manners A lot'.