Ask Mr. Ethiquette: Several questions today

Dear Mr. Ethiquette,

I’m a working-class white Southern male, except that I’m not technically working because I’ve been unemployed for over a year. My job in the textile industry was eliminated when the company moved production to China, and I can’t find anything new, especially with just a high-school education.

My wife lost her job in state government last month, just as my unemployment benefits were running out. Our 19-year-old son can only find work at McDonald’s and is thinking about joining the Army instead, except he’s a little concerned about the whole dying-in-Afghanistan thing. My 11-year-old daughter was doing well in school until funding was cut and her teacher was replaced with a mannequin.

Meanwhile, all around us, roads and bridges are crumbling, families are losing their homes and average Americans have given up all hope that the future is going to be any better.

Can you explain to me why I continue to support Republican policies that give more money to the wealthy and have virtually no regard for my situation? Why would I vote so consistently against my own self-interests? What is wrong with me?

— L.P., Columbia S.C.

Dear L.P.,

Gays are going to be allowed to marry each other!

Democrats want to take away your guns!

There’s a war against Christmas being waged by liberals who aren’t as God-loving as you!

Muslims are building a mosque near Ground Zero in New York!

African-Americans and Hispanics continue to walk among us!

Have you forgotten about all this?

— Mr. Ethiquette

Dear Mr. Ethiquette,

You’re right! I forgot all about that. Sorry, I guess I was distracted by trying to figure out how I was going to feed my family.

— L.P., Columbia, S.C.

Dear L.P.,

And don’t forget Congressional earmarks! And Nancy Pelosi! And the lamestream media!

— Mr. Ethiquette

Dear Mr. Ethiquette,

Right, right. So sorry to waste your time.

— L.P., Columbia, S.C.

Dear L.P.,

That’s OK. In stressful times like these, it’s easy to forget what’s important for America.

— Mr. Ethiquette


Dear Mr. Ethiquette,

What is considered proper these days when holding open a door for someone? Is this only something a man does for a woman, or is it a common courtesy that should be extended to all?

What do you do when they’re coming up behind you, but they’re far enough away that you have to hold the door for a few additional seconds? They often break into a trot to keep you from waiting, which seems to defeat the whole purpose of why you’re trying to be nice to them. Especially when old people are involved — I hate to make grandma jog across the parking lot because she doesn’t want to inconvenience me by waiting for her.

And what about automatically opening doors? Should I stand in front of the sensor to keep the doors open for a straggler, or can I count on their own physical bulk to take care of this for them?

Modern life is so confusing for a person like me who wants to do right by their fellow human beings.

— H.R., Denver, Col.

Dear H.R.,

Truly you are a dying breed, but I’m glad there are some of you still out there who want to be nice to strangers.

If there is someone immediately behind you as you enter a door, it is proper to hold the door for them, regardless of their gender. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if it’s a man or a woman anyway, what with all the trans-sexuals and trans-gendered and transvestites out there. And don’t even get me started on the gays.

If the straggler is more than a couple of feet behind you, do not hold the door. The whole idea of this exercise is to be polite, so you kind of defeat the purpose by making them sprint forward so you’re not holding the door so long. At that distance, you can’t really be sure they’re coming in the same door as you anyway. Maybe they plan instead to scale the wall to a second-floor window and enter that way. Maybe they have superhuman strength and prefer to bash a new entryway into the building. Maybe they’ve mastered teleportation and plan on reassembling their atoms inside, without ever even using a door. You don’t know.

As for automatic doors, I believe these are a scourge upon the land. They encourage weakness in our population, and have contributed immeasurably to the decline of Western Civilization. What’s next to be automated? Zippers? Car doors? Will we soon require attendants to bring a glass of water to our lips so that we may drink without effort? No wonder we have an obesity problem in this country.

I think I’ve answered your question in there somewhere. Thanks for asking.

— Mr. Ethiquette


Dear Mr. Ethiquette,

So what exactly is the point of this advice column anyway? You’re trying to address that area where ethics and etiquette intersect? I can appreciate the need to apologize to a neighbor that you almost ran over with your car, or the prison inmate you’re about to execute. And you covered those two topics nicely in your first two installments.

I’m not sure what else is left. How are you going to make this a regular feature of this blog with such a shortage of issues?

— D.L., Toronto, Canada

Dear T.L.,

You know what? I hate to admit it, but you’re right. It was a stupid idea to begin with.

Today’s post therefore marks the end of the “Ask Mr. Ethiquette” feature. Like Larry King, I’ve enjoyed my tenure entertaining and informing America, even if he did it for 60 years and I just started earlier this month. But there comes a time for all things to end, so I’ll take my cue from Larry and Oprah and Barbara Walters and all the other retiring titans of infotainment, and I’ll say goodbye.

Thanks for reading.

— The Late Mr. Ethiquette

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2 Responses to “Ask Mr. Ethiquette: Several questions today”

  1. Paul Dixon Says:

    Like a star shooting over the horizon, we lay Mr. Ethiquette to rest.

    Alas, poor Ethiquette! We hardly knew ye.

  2. Stentorphone Says:

    Dear Davis-

    You used to have a guy working for you named “Dr. Ethiquette” or something like that. I’m not sure if my question is “at the intersection where ethics and etiquette meet”, but it doesn’t seem important enough to call 911 and bother them, so here goes:

    I have recently acquired a fondness for tuna melt sandwiches. I’ve always heard that since tuna can accumulate mercury in their tissues, it’s not advised to eat tuna more than twice a week. I’m exceeding that level lately, and I’m a bit concerned. Does Dr. Ethiquette think that, say- 3 times a week is still safe?

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