Service of Upside-Down

August 29th, 2013

Categories: Cheating, College, Manners, Politics, Upside Down


Upside down


Thanks for the Memories

Used to be that people with the best manners often came from the most advantaged homes but it seems that the privileged are no longer those who regularly write thank you notes, hold doors or act in thoughtful, courteous ways nor do their offspring. I’ll spare you the examples as no doubt you have many of your own.

No Thanks

I mentioned this topic to a colleague whose daughter just graduated from college. She agreed and added another twist: Many of the kids whose parents could cover college costs have no yen to go so they don’t.

You’re Strange; You’re Hired

Jack in the box

Odd behavior was the kiss of death for most careers but not for our politicians. Like Jack-in-the-boxes, they keep popping up and winning, the weirder the better.


Cheat and Win

People whose fraudulent mismanagement and insider trading garner headlines are rewarded. The former receive huge bonuses and the latter keep misbegotten gains and feel no more than a tap on the finger. Both garner front row seats at major charity events and photos in the society pages.

What’s the cause of these turns of events? What’s happened? Are we better off? Are these examples the new normal and those who aren’t comfortable are the ones who are upside down?

 what happened



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7 Responses to “Service of Upside-Down”

  1. Lucrezia Said:

    I disagree. Open the history books! Remember reading about a couple (or maybe more) Chicago mayors holding office from jail? What about New York’s beloved mayor Jimmy Walker? Various murderers and thieves were and are romanticized to this day. Who hates Robin Hood? Socrates made similar complaints over 2000 years ago.

    It’s the same old same old – some are rewarded for bad behavior, others not. Just ask Ivan Boesky!

  2. JPM Said:

    As a boy, I spent most of the war years in Washington, D.C., where my mother and father both worked more than full time for the federal government in war related jobs. They didn’t have much time for parenting, and I learned my manners by watching my well-behaved peers. One day in 1945, after the war was over and I was with my father, I did not call a senior naval officer “Sir.” Once we were out of the man’s presence, my father gave me hell! I’ve resented his anger ever since because no one had ever told me to call anyone “Sir.” If our kids are selfish and rude, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

    It was indeed an upside down world from the one we’ve got now. Christian whites dominated all aspects of society. My public school was segregated. My teachers were first rate because smart women couldn’t get a better job than teaching. Black people rode at the back of the bus, and the only ones I ever saw in a restaurant waited table. There was no third world; there were colonies.

    Syria was a French protectorate, and there was no Israel. There were no Syrian crises, because the French dealt out law and order, perhaps brutally but certainly firmly, and nobody would have said, “Boo.” (Poor President Obama. If he does nothing, more women and children are going to be murdered, but if he does bomb the place, he too will kill people. He may even topple a regime with the result that a different batch of women and children will be massacred. What’s worse, whatever he does, he’s sure to have many more people blame him for their troubles.)

    It’s the Humpty Dumpty syndrome. If you jiggle things around the way we have, you are not always going to get the results you expect. But wait a while; they’ll get jiggled again soon.

  3. JBS Said:

    I couldn’t agree more. I’m particularly mad about the lack of thank you notes. I gave my niece a place setting of sterling years ago when she got married … never heard from her. Recently, I sent out two baby gifts and I’ve yet to hear a word. Between this error in manners and the lack of RSVP’s (remember when we used to have to write them, now all that is required is checking a yes or no, and I know most brides have to call a week in advance to ask half their guests if they are coming.)

  4. Lucrezia Said:

    JBS: My late mother in law had an effective way of showing displeasure at the lack of a thank you note. She waited patiently for two months, and if silence persisted, sent a tracer. The note was swiftly forthcoming.

    Mother in law was right, but I’m going a step further. No note? No tracer, no gift(s).

  5. Jeanne Byington Said:


    You’re right….why I think we should be smarter these days is beyond me!

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    We’d best jiggle parts of the way things are going today and jiggle them fast. As the world becomes increasingly crowded we should once again treat one another with kindness and gratitude or it won’t be such a pleasant place to live.

    Little boys may not need to say “sir” to their elders, but it wouldn’t hurt.

    We’re going in a better direction in other instances to which you refer–the 50th anniversary of the Martin Luther King speech this week brought top of mind many changes worth celebrating.

  7. Jeanne Byington Said:


    A friend gave her son a magnificent bar mitzvah and to the very last day was calling people who responded to neither the invitation nor follow up calls and emails.

    The day of the event people whined at her [my interpretation] at the lunch after the service: “I don’t think I can come tonight.” She must have paid a fortune for the elegant dinner. Short of an emergency [which was not the case with these spoiled, thoughtless people], if you accept an invitation you attend.

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