In the early 1970s (I think it was 1974) actress Marlo Thomas published a book and a song for children called “Free To Be You And Me,” which dealt with diversity. It was also used to promote feminism. The idea was that you can be anything you want because you are OKAY! I have always thought it was a positive thing, to give a child the idea that he or she could be whatever they wanted whether they were girl or boy, black, brown, yellow or white. But I think, like so many wonderful movements, it has surpassed its original purpose and now there is pretty much license out there to do whatever you want and act any way you want because, gosh darn it, you are special!
In this entry, I am focusing on spelling, grammar and punctuation, as well as the importance of being knowledgeable of the social graces.
Case in point—the other day I received an invitation to a wedding shower. It is being put on by the bride’s family (that is written right into the invitation) at her mother’s home. Well….I don’t think they are aware (or do they just not care—after all…) that they are already soliciting one gift with the wedding invitation and, therefore, the family of the bride is not supposed to add to that by soliciting for an additional gift by officially giving the bride a shower! But now comes another big, glaring error—the pretty, computer-generated invitation, written in beautiful script and bordered by pictures of spring flowers, says, “Bridle Shower"!!! Is the bride a horse-lover and the spelling a play on words? Will we wear western outfits and sit on hay? Sadly, no. The invitation is now a glaring faux pas on two levels. The bride, by the way is an elementary school teacher.
Speaking of school, in all the years I worked for the school district and specifically for the high school part of my duties was proof-reading letters, memos, flyers-—written by individuals who not only had teaching credentials but by many who had their masters degrees and administrative credentials. And I found horrendous errors in spelling, punctuation, and grammar—-all the time! Their excuses ranged from, “I’ve never been good at spelling,” to “Gee, spell check didn’t catch that?” Well then, you shouldn’t have been handed your degree if you couldn’t spell or use proper grammar without assistance!
And from a wide range of friends and acquaintances of all ages I have witnessed: not responding to invitations and then showing up, showing up late, and not thanking the host/hostess. Were these people raised by wolves?
In the workplace, some people call in sick about half an hour after they were due in to work. They do not call at the end of the day to say whether they think they will be in the next day—-so if they don’t show up the next day, you are to assume they are still sick. And they continue to do this after they are told to call ahead—-on top of the fact this is in most companies’ policies, it is the courteous thing to do! They become a “problem” because their supervisors don’t have the balls to approach them when they do this habitually—-let’s not offend them, they say!
I don't think my mother's generation wrung their hands over this kind of thing when they looked at other people--did they?? (I'm not counting Elvis or The Beatles!) Is this to be expected in our "golden years?" To watch the actual disintegration of ways of doing things that all our lives were important social components is very difficult indeed. I admit--I was unprepared.