JUST SAYIN’: A common act forgotten

By Niketta Tammons
The Scene staff

According to dictionary.reference.com, “courtesy” is defined as excellence of manners or social conduct; polite behavior. A courteous, respectful, or considerate act or expression, indulgence, consent, or acquiescence.

Somewhere we have lost the simple act of common courtesy. Now 35 years old, I was raised that if someone is older than you, you said yes ma’am and yes sir. You spoke when spoken to. When adults talked, you walked out of the room. You got out of your seat on the bus for elders, or as men would for women and children.

When did we forget how to be courteous to one another? I think it was in 1989. Around that time the kids changed. Babies were being born to babies and grandparents were in their late 30s early 40s. The music changed, and the era of “wear as little clothing as you can” came into play. Who has time to focus on manners when you are too focused on the half-dressed, sassy and ill-mannered people in the world?

I watched a YouTube video at bit.ly/1PEN1PH, where Joel James, comedian and host of Joel TV Parody, wrote a skit in which he holds a door open for a lady at what looks like a grocery store, and when she walks through, she does not say thank you, so James pulls her back into the store and closes the door.

As I laughed, I realized if she had just said thank you, if everyone had courtesy for each other, he wouldn’t have made the video, and he wouldn’t have more than 33,000 views and likes.

Of those 33,000 people, I wonder how many say thank you when a stranger, family or friend shows courtesy.

One commenter on the video felt that James had a sense of entitlement for doing a good deed. Richie Lau says, “I don’t expect anything in return when I do something nice, like opening doors for people. I understand a nice smile or thank you would seem pleasant. But it’s not a job, stupid fool, acting like you should get something in return. Same type of person would expect thank you and applause every time you didn’t lay a fart. So much entitlement here.”

Lau’s opinion suggests that he has lost all hope in people.

Kmax1223’s comment to Lau was, “It just wouldn’t kill someone to show a little gratitude. It makes people feel stupid to hold the door open for someone and that person just walks out straight-faced as if the door magically opened on its own. It’s like you’ve basically been treated like a nobody.”

Another commenter, Ikill4klondikebars, says, “The only entitlement is the pretentious person who can’t be grateful that someone did something for someone they didn’t have to do.”

Amid all the comments, the only one to disagree with James’ skit was Lau.

I’ve taught my daughter, 13, and son, 6, to always be nice and respectful in or out of my presence. I have taught them to say excuse me when bumping into someone, butt out of a conversation and to say thank you.

  • Here’s my list of when we should show common courtesy:
  • When someone holds the door open for you, say thank you.
  • When someone allows you to get over while driving, wave as to say thanks.
  • When someone bumps into you or you into them, say excuse me.
  • When someone sneezes, say bless you.
  • When you ask for something, say please and then thank you.
  • Someone speaks, smiles, nods, simply speak back.

I know this is silly to many, but I don’t care. Every once in a while, we need a quick study guide to life, and I hope this commentary helps the lost ones gain an understanding of what use to be and should definitely return soon. Just sayin’.