Good Manners Trump and Triumph

manners2I don’t know about you, but in the last 365 days I’m left to wonder if our entire nation has completely forgotten the teachings of our parents, grandparents, and founding fathers. If you are reading this to see what side of the aisle I’m on you’ll be disappointed. I’m staying right in the middle. And from where I’m standing things look pretty disgraceful.

My parents and grandparents advised that conversations about money, politics and religion are not mannerly in social environments. Any of the aforementioned topics will bring down your fan base by at least 50% and since we’ve become a society in search of “likes”, “faves” and “followers” it would seem to be ill-advised to publish your political views on Facebook. But it’s happening! You want to conduct an experiment to see how fast you are blocked from devout friends and close family? Answer: post ANYTHING political, sit back and watch. Why? Because my parents and grandparents are correct. When someone behaves in a socially inappropriate way they will suffer the consequences. The friend count starts to dwindle and the party invitations dry up.

I work in an industry which requires that my local and social media audiences see me a certain way, ergo I refrain from posting any political, religious or financial material. Perhaps the countless Twitter and Facebook posts both instigating and defending political and religious stances are from people who will never apply for a job, do business within a 100 mile radius of where they live, use an online dating service or need a friend. I choose to keep my postings about happy things like little life victories, cute kittens and the occasional sales victory. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to read about their real estate agent’s views on God or choice in this past election. People go on Facebook and Twitter to connect with people and wind up getting bullied. Social Media Expert Jody Barrett says of her successful generation of 240,000+ (all real) followers on Twitter, “Keep your content consistently positive, friendly and engaging.”

Our founding fathers built a country, a government and a constitution citing certain unalienable rights such as freedoms of religion, speech, pursuit of happiness. Our founding fathers, Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Adams and so many other great thinkers, chose their words carefully in an effort to establish a great nation, but also a civil society. Jody Barrett cautions, “To some degree your social media reveals your mindset. You are what you tweet.” So I ask, what would a founding father say about posting political views, religious stances and financial exploits? “Speak not but what may benefit yourself or others” – Benjamin Franklin


Suspending Disbelief

As the last one hundred breaths steal in and out of her heavy lungs she stretches to remember the warm sun on her face. The echo of it still brings a smile to the very sides of her paralyzed, once passionate lips.  As life grew less mysterious and more physically arduous she thinks about love and how it ages. It starts like morning, full of words and walks and slowly unfolds into evening, quiet with long gazes and the briefest touch before a dream. There was love just as there were days, uncountable then. Even in the last few she smiles about the day she picked up her old friend with a new love.

She bought a lotto ticket. Sitting on the porch in the back with her lover, after ten years of abstinence, she took from his pack of cigarettes. The death of their dreams had brought them to a shared place on the road to nowhere and for a brief moment the sound of laughter gave way to an illusion of simplicity and life felt light. Unuttered words of love hung in the air, carefully left there to disperse over them both slowly, like a billowing, expanding ring of smoke. In this way they could both feel all of it together as only the wisdom of aging had taught them. Guarding the moment, they cautiously avoided the conversation looming like cancer threatening to steal time. Neither of them could afford the luxury of love.

As they parted, using the same songs written by countless broken hearts, the evening gave way to a dark, rainy night. Squandered minutes would begin to grow like the distance between them as they walked away from each other. Later, with more of time’s teachings, they would learn which currency had been most valuable.