Why I Hate Almost Everyone (Part 4): Bad Manners

OK, right off the bat I just want to say that I am not one of those pedantic, painstakingly persnickety people who pontificates on the proper placement of the oyster fork (to the right of, or – my personal preference – resting with the tines in the dinner spoon on the right side of the dinner plate) or how gracefully to get rid of an olive pit that is in your mouth (if you put the olive into your mouth with a spoon, then gently spit the pit back into the spoon and place the pit on your plate).

Far be it from me to lecture people on the punctilios of proper forms of address or how best to conduct oneself in the presence of a reigning British monarch. [1]

(The Manual for Modern Manners)

There are times, though, when I simply must put on my Miss Manners millinery and lay down the law on what is to be expected of people in public.

It must be distinctly understood that dealing with the public is the price one pays for stepping out of one’s residence and venturing out into the world. Dealing with the public means putting up with a certain amount of guff from The Great Unwashed. One accepts that as part of the great social contract. One expects that there are varying degrees of education and upbringing. One expects and makes allowances for cultural differences, for example, that can account for a certain heterogeneity of behaviour.

HOWEVER [1]

(An understandable but not highly recommended approach)

When it comes to out-and-out rudeness, I have to put the old foot down, and firmly at that.

Let me be clear that I am not speaking of people who are merely ignorant. It is one thing for someone simply not to know how to behave in public. Ignorant people can learn. They can be taught. There is hope for the ignorant person.

Nor am I talking about people who are inconsiderately oblivious of the needs of others. For example, people who go to a buffet at a reception, fill their plates, and then begin eating and talking in front of the buffet table seemingly unaware of the crowd of people gathering impatiently behind them. Even the dimmest of such clued-out people can be awakened from their stupor with a well-timed cough or a gentle ‘excuse me, may I please squeeze through?’

It is quite a different thing altogether for some boor or other maleducato to act, behave or worse treat you and others rudely and with a complete lack of respect or even common decency. Sheer unvarnished rudeness is tough to take. I’ve been confronted with some pretty hard-core yobbos, oafs and philistines in my time, let me tell you. One never gets used to it, really.

(My first etiquette book!)

A truly rude, loutish barbarian of a person can quite simply take one’s breath away. The unmitigated, churlish chutzpah of the vulgarian is quite literally an affront to the senses and sensibilities of the decent among us. We recoil in shock and disgust to uncivil, uncivilized, uncultured and unmannerly people… and rightly so.

Sadly, commenting on the impoliteness or even going so far as administering a firm reprimand often makes matters worse. I can’t remember a time when an ill-mannered ruffian was brought to his senses by an acerbic criticism. I’ve lost count, however, of the times when a stinging rebuke has enraged the transgressor or has, in fact, provoked even more unseemly behavior from him.

One witnesses a bizarre almost reverse snobbery when an uncivilized plebe comes face to face with a civilized person. The stereotypical caricature of such an encounter, as played out in the popular imagination, is to have the the well-mannered person act in an aloof and superior manner, treating the ‘poor simple ordinary person’ shabbily and with a snobbish patronizing condescension. My experience is quite the opposite. In such a situation, it is the rude person who adopts the arrogant and haughty manner, looking down his nose on someone who displays good manners and knows how to behave properly in polite society. It is the ill-mannered person who becomes even more insufferably boorish in an attempt to show that he is a ‘real authentic person’ as opposed to an effete overrefined snob.

(Ma’am? You have permission to put your purse to good use!)

This is why, lately, I have curtailed many of my sorties into the public. I rarely sally forth into the wilds of urban life anymore. I simply can’t bear it. There was a time when I used to enjoy, for example, going to movie theatres. Now the mere thought of going out to see a film and having to deal with what passes today for ‘people’ makes me cringe.

I’ve tried very hard of late to make my private life, including the company of my dear friends and loved ones, a sanctuary of sorts. I don’t tolerate rudeness in those around me any more than they would tolerate it in me. I’ve surrounded myself with decent, kind, civilized people and created a refuge against what I see as a deterioration of common courtesy in life.

I do confess that part of it derives from a healthy sense of self-preservation. From what I understand, county jails are notoriously inhospitable places and, truth be told, if ever there was a festering hive of inappropriate behaviour, it is most likely a prison. I have acted on enough cases of assault, assault with a weapon, aggravated assault and assault causing bodily harm to know that Her Majesty’s government most definitely frowns on that sort of thing. A person needs to know his or her limitations and I am not fully confident that my limits extend to refraining from resorting to physical violence in the face of extreme rudeness.

I am reminded of Dr. Evil’s priceless line in reference to a support group he and his son, Scott, attended.

“I had the group liquidated. They were insolent!”

(A man who knew how to deal with churls)

Perhaps I am being too pessimistic. Perhaps one day I will turn on the television (if I had one) and watch how our political leaders show us the way by engaging in civil discourse to help solve the problems we, as a nation, face. Perhaps one day, people will realize that we should rise above our baser natures and conduct ourselves like decent people and make our society worthy of the name ‘civilization.’

Perhaps one day, the cow will jump over the moon.

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[1] Do not speak unless spoken to. If the monarch does speak to you, reply in grammatically cogent phrases with neither cloying sentimentality nor rude familiarity. In short, address the monarch with dignity and restraint. If you don’t think you can manage that, it’s quite possible that the best (and safest) course of action is for you to keep your mouth shut.

[2] Or as Pee-wee Hurman would say, “Everyone I know has a big ‘but!'”

Weekend in Toronto!

Hello, my dear little geeks…

I am presently in Toronto, taking a long weekend off and staying with dear friends.

I am sad to say that there will be no article today (November 25) or this coming Monday (November 28).

Devastating, I know… but I am sure you all will bear up admirably under this unspeakable tragedy.

Have no fear, nerdlings…  I will be back at it, hammer and tong, right after that.

Have a wonderful zombie-free weekend!

XOXOX

Vampyre Fangs

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Zombies Are Just One Big Cootie: A child’s view of the living dead

At St. Mary of the Assumption Elementary School, Mrs. Graves’s kindergarten class was fairly unanimous in their disapproval.

“Zombies are just one big cootie,” says Stephanie, her freckled nose crinkling.

“Zombies are slow and ugly and not so smart,” observes Michael.

“They make me want to throw up,” confesses Kelly-Anne, shaking her young head sadly.

(Zombie princesses)

Things weren’t much different at Mrs. Matseyve’s first grade class at the Upper West Hebrew Academy.

“Everybody hates zombies. They’re gross!” states Tamar emphatically.

“Maybe if they looked nicer and didn’t try to eat you, people wouldn’t run away from them so much,” suggests Dvorah-Leah.

“They make creepy moany noises,” observes Rivki, her face in a frown. “Nobody likes that, especially at night.”

The second grade children at P.S. 6 did not diverge from what was fast becoming almost a mantra among the youngest amongst us.

“I wish they would just go away. I’m bored of all the zombie stuff!” exclaims Madison.

“Zombies are icky. Vampyres are much better,” admits Claire.

How is it that such a profound prejudice is ingrained in our children at such a young age?

(Zombie boy)

We asked clinical psychologist and misozombia [1] expert Aaron David Shtarben, Psy.D, at Bellevue Hospital Centre in Manhattan.

“What we’re seeing more and more in young children,” Dr. Shtarben says, “is something much greater than a normal and healthy wariness of the living dead. We’re observing behaviour and speech consistent with an almost pathological fear and an intense hatred far out of proportion to the danger actually posed to children.”

Dr. Shtarben indicates that such deep-seated ‘fear and loathing’ of zombies among children is spreading rapidly through our culture and shows little sign of abating.

How can we stop this? Some experts have proposed a possible solution.

“Parents should be particularly careful in projecting a fair and balanced image to their children,” advises child psychiatrist Dr. Isaac Nifter of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. “Especially when children are at a young and impressionable age, it is incumbent upon the parents to ensure that negative stereotypes aren’t imprinted on their children’s minds. And this goes double when talking about the Life-Challenged.”

As the old song goes, you’ve got to be taught to hate and fear.

(Is this the face of our dystopian future?)

Back at the Upper West Hebrew Academy, I spoke with a Junior Kindergarten student, 4-year-old Rachel. “They’re schtunky!” she giggles, her little fingers covering her wide smile, her twinkling blue eyes barely concealing the venom and vitriol bubbling within her, just under the surface.

To see such unbridled abhorence in one so young chilled this writer to the bone.

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[1] Misozombia: An intense dislike, hatred, disgust or aversion  regarding zombies. This is not to be confused with Zombiphobia: An abnormal or pathological fear of zombies. For more zombie-related words and expressions, see The Zombie Lexicon: A Living Dead Language Guide.

Why I Hate Almost Everyone (Part 3): Bad Driving

One of my best and dearest friends, MS, once said that it is his great wish that the Jewish publishing house, Artscroll, put out a volume entitled, Hilchos Driving (Laws of Driving)!

I join him in that fervent prayer.

(I have a feeling THIS handbook is way too popular!)

What is it about people who, while relatively normal in their day-to-day lives and dealings with others, suddenly and inexplicably turn into total unmitigated dickwads when they get behind the wheel?

I think you know the type I mean. The ones who would rather die than let you in ahead of them. The one who goes into full road-rage mode if he feels you ‘cut him off’ (apparently, second only to treason in the hierarchy of heinous offences).The one who is talking on the cell phone while putting on make-up while lighting a cigarette while buttering a bagel while changing lanes.

(Natural Selection may take care of this problem)

Maybe it’s the feeling of anonymity. Maybe being encased in fibreglass and metal gives one a sense of invulnerability. Maybe it’s knowing that 99% of the time, you never suffer any real consequences of your stupid actions.

But it’s that 1% that will get you and, heaven forbid, injure you… or worse, someone else (i.e. me)!

I also get the feeling that there is a certain percentage of drivers who feel deep down that following the rules, obeying the laws, driving like a mensch… is for suckers. All the other losers out there let people into their lane, allow the other person to take the parking spot, wait for the elderly persons to cross the street without blaring the horn and causing them to go into cardiac arrest. Nope… The King of the Road will use the sucker’s kindness and willingness to follow the rules of the road to his own advantage – cutting in, cutting off, tailgating, bullying, yelling, middle-fingering, etc. – thereby arriving at the stop light at least 4 seconds faster than he would have done had he acted like a decent human being.

(No translation necessary)

And another thing… It drives me insane when, in a plaza, I see the area in front of a store clearly and repeatedly marked with No Parking and No Stopping and Tow Away Zone signs only to have some schmuck plop his car there because heaven forbid he should park in the parking lot like the rest of us plebes and walk a whole 30 feet to the store. Nope! It’s convenient for him so screw everyone else.

(Say Hello to My Little Friend!)

It is a good thing Canada has strict gun-control laws or else there would be a whole other kind of natural selection going on. A little chlorine in the rotten driver gene pool courtesy of the boys at Colt’s Manufacturing!

Fortunately, our world-renown ‘niceness’ usually stands us in good stead here in southern Ontario. But, like fauxhemians ruin it for bohemians [1], rotten drivers taint the rest of the normal driving public.

I may in the future write (or co-write with my dear friend SG) an article about driving in (or despite) Montreal traffic.

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[1] See previous article, Fauxhemians (And Why I Hate Them)!

Bad Vampyre Relationship Stories!

Sick of everyone using Facebook and Twitter as a forum for bragging about their amaazing boyfriend – fiance – husband – S.O? Does all this relationship bliss make you want to gag?

Look no further… this is for you! We got our readers to take to social media and share the #RelationshipFail they’ll never forget.

“Asked how old he was – i.e. when was he ‘made.’ He said ‘Thursday!’ EJECT!”  –@CryptLvr

“Met Travolta/SNF type at H’ween party. Turns out he was made in ’77. That’s how he looks all the time now. FAIL!” –@Drucilla

“I said ‘I love you’ first and he goes, ‘I know’. WTF is that?” –@gothgrrl92

“Took him out his first time for sushi. Waitress brings chopsticks. He screams & runs away. Check, please!” –@atsuko666

“Applying make-up in front of mirror. Comes up behind me & touches shoulder. Lipstick across cheek to my ear! SO not funny!” –@HunterGreen

“I had Caesar salad before our 1st kiss – and he throws up in my car!!” –@Jasime

“Walked me to my door. Daddy saw red eyes glowing in dark. Thought bf was coyote & shot him. Awkward!” –@PatsyKake

“Found out new bf slept in coffin… with his mom. Wrong on so many levels!” –@VampB8

“Cute young guy takes me for midnight stroll… and bites my pet dog! Eeww!” –@CougrLdy

“Two words: Orthodontic retainer. Yeuch!” –KylaMarie

Read more:

Bad Relationship Stories: Dealing with a Bad Vampyre Boyfriend – Fangbanger magazine;

When He Becomes a Pain in the Neck: Dumping the Undead – You’re So Vein blog;

Cheating Vampyre BFs: The Cross We Bear – Coffin Counselors blog;

Blood vs. Brains : Vampyre or Zombie – Which is Right for You! – Cosmopolitan.

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I will be out of town from Wed. Nov. 16 until Mon. Nov. 21. See you when I return!

Messages from Mom in the Womb (Oy, please!)

Usually, the geeks and nerdlings over at ScienceDaily.com provide us with tons of harmless fun regarding newsworthy items or just plain old-fashioned odd goings-on in the science biz.

This one, however, I found a bit unsettling…

Can Fetus Sense Mother’s Psychological State? Study Suggests Yes!

(Fetus desperately trying to put Mom on Call-Block)

Well, isn’t that just flippin’ lovely?

The depressing article intones, “As a fetus grows, it’s constantly getting messages from its mother. It’s not just hearing her heartbeat and whatever music she might play to her belly; it also gets chemical signals through the placenta. A new study… finds that this includes signals about the mother’s mental state. If the mother is depressed, that affects how the baby develops after it’s born.”

Talk about child abuse. It’s like having your mother hardwired onto your Facebook page… and you can’t defriend her!! What an amniotic nightmare!! Not only does the little tot have to put up with Mom’s horrid taste in music, it also gets a live in utero feed of her feelings of anxiety, obsessional thoughts and compulsive acts in addition to her non-stop internal monologue of physical complaints. Oh, the prenatal horror!

(Please make her stop. I’m not even born yet and she’s driving me nuts!)

According to the study [1], what really mattered to the pregnancy prisoners was the consistency of the environment before and after birth. That is, the babies who did best were those who either had mothers who were healthy both before and after birth, and those whose mothers were depressed before birth and stayed depressed afterward. What slowed the babies’ development was changing conditions – a mother who went from depressed before birth to healthy after or healthy before birth to depressed after.

Now, I already know what you’re thinking. If the mother’s a basket case before birth, the baby’s better off if we allow Mom to continue being loopy after childbirth. Not so, according to Mr Sandman.

“A more reasonable approach would be, to treat women who present with prenatal depression,” Sandman says. “We know how to deal with depression.”

The problem is, women are rarely screened for depression before birth, now… are they, Carl?

(If she’s the wacko loonie who’s waiting for me, I’m not coming out!)

In other words, you need a licence to own a dog but any psycho wingnut can have as many babies as she can pump out.

The scientists who authored this study do leave us with one positive reaffirming note in this sad symphony.

“We believe that the human fetus is an active participant in its own development and is collecting information for life after birth,” Sandman says. “It’s preparing for life based on messages the mom is providing.”

Sadly, the messages she is providing often consist of variations on the theme, “Your Mom doesn’t quite have both oars in the water, sweetie!”

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[1]  The study on how the mother’s psychological state affects a developing fetus entitled, “Prescient Human Fetuses Thrive” was compiled by Curt A. Sandman, Elysia P. Davis, and Laura M. Glynn of the University of California-Irvine and will be published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Holy Sneezin’ Orgasms, Batman!

My dear friend, SG, passed this snopes.com science article along to me…

It’s the Time for the Sneezin’ of Love.

At first blush, I presumed it was a humourous piece playing on the title of the old sixties hit by the British band, The Zombies.

(The Zombies – part of the musical British Invasion of the Sixties)

And to a certain extent it is.

What I was not expecting, however, was the first lines…

Claim: Sneezing seven times in a row is the same as an orgasm!
Status: False

Personally, I would have thought the status would be, “I wish!”

Another dear friend, LF, added that if this were the case, she’d be “huffing pollen from a brown paper bag.”

I love my friends!

(A very non-photogenic sneeze. Yikes!)

The article goes on to list several other widely believed things about sneezing. For example…

  • You can’t keep your eyes open if you sneeze. (Actually, some people can)
  • If you did manage to sneeze with your eyes open, your eyes would pop out of your head. (Luckily, this is false as well)
  • When you sneeze, your heart stops. (Again, this is false, thank goodness)

Something I am particularly subject to is ‘photogenic sneezing.’ And no, this does not mean that I am really, really, really ridiculously good-looking while sneezing. It means a sneeze that is set off by exposure to bright light. For me, sunny winter days do it to me all the time. You get the light directly from the sun as well reflected off the snow. Bad news. And not in the least orgasmic, I can assure you.

(Oooo, baby!)

Anyway, back to orgasms…

The article puts it best when it states, “The belief that a magic number of sneezes will produce an instant of sexual satisfaction is false. (Had it been true, those afflicted by allergies would be the happiest people on earth, and they’re not.) While sneezing and orgasm are regarded as somewhat akin in that both produce powerful bodily convulsions, one doesn’t feel like the other.”

(Does this put you in the mood?)

Despite science pooh-poohing a perfectly good myth, I myself will regard sneezers in a whole different light this winter and may replace my usual “Bless you!” or “Gezinterheit” with… “Was it good for you?”

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