According to Wikipedia, the online, open-forum encyclopedia – thought I’d sound hip saying that instead of, “According to my Encyclopedia Britannica in book form on my bookshelf” – the word “polite” means “having or showing behavior that is respectful and considerate of other people.” The word “courteous” is defined as being “very polite in a way that shows respect.” These words and others like them can be summed up with one single word – chivalry – which is defined, in a nutshell, as “one being courteous, polite, gentlemanly and ladylike.”
So, is it true that chivalry is dead? What has happened in just my lifetime?
Case in point: While driving the other day in yet another back-up on Interstate 75, a nice young lady signaled to merge into my lane because in a few hundred yards, her lane was blocked. I waved her on. But, did I get as much as a wave or acknowledgment of my courteous behavior?
Of course not.
So, with kids in car I beeped the horn, waved and mouthed the words “You’re welcome,” hoping she’d see me in her rear view mirror. Oh, she saw me alright, and promptly flipped me off.
This, of course, fired me up almost to the point of road rage, but we all know that’s illegal and I would never do anything like that.
Second case in point: Holding the door for a nice young couple at the mall last week. Did, I receive a “thank you?” Of course not. But I got my revenge by speaking the words “You’re welcome” quite loudly. I’m sure they heard me, which did give me a degree of satisfaction.
So, where is chivalry in 2013?
Could it be in the age of Jerry Springer, FOX News and MSNBC, where everyone seems to be yelling and screaming at each other, using every name in the book, that we are desensitized to it all? Is this what our young people will repeat and act out in real life because they perceive this as “normal” behavior? To get your point across it has to be at the decibel level of a GE jet engine – the loudest is heard and others be damned and name-calling is OK.
I remember the day when most everyone said “please” or “thank you.” Especially in our household, where as a youngster you’d be embarrassed if you didn’t thank Aunt Janette for the Christmas money and Mom would say, “Now thank your aunt, Jimmy.” This ritual is performed to my kids, whom are now at the age where they say, “Dad, we’re not five. That’s embarrassing.”
Just paying it forward.
Case in point number three: A friend of mine is the general manager at a local theater chain who informed me he had a little problem the other night. Seems a group of teens from a local high school decided to meet for a movie and some fun. Problem was the “pack mentality” kicked in. You know, where one of your buddies wants to show off and be the center of attention. We all experienced that in high school, but today, it’s much different. I’m told that this group of teens – whom by the way were chaperone-less – decided it would be fun to talk and use their cell phones during the flick. Well, you and I know there’s nothing worse than a phone ringing or the light from said phone becomes annoying.
So, my friend politely and courteously popped into the theater to inform the crowd of teens that they need to quit talking and shut the phones off because there are others in the house that prefer to see the film without any distractions. I’m told he made three trips, one of which was to actually stop the movie. He said he’s only done that twice in his long career in the movie theater biz.
Now, after that didn’t work, he hauled the offending teens out to the lobby, and when asked to leave without a refund, they refused. The police were summoned. (By the way, while working at Channel 2, a news consultant told us to use the word “cops” because no one says “police” any longer. I continued to use the word “police.”) One kid – see previous comment about one of your friends acting up – decided that it would be a good idea to mouth off to the police officers.
The next thing my friend sees is a few youngsters in handcuffs, and being under 18, their parents were informed to come get them. (Boy, if that was me I’d be happy, I say with tongue firmly planted in cheek.) So, really, was it worth it to spend all that money at the movies and end up in cuffs? My guess would be these kids are heroes to some.
So, in conclusion, let me take this time to be chivalrous and thank you all for reading my column every week right here. And if you see a guy that looks like me waving you into my lane during traffic troubles, please wave back … but use all your fingers.
For more than 25 years, “Buch” has been a local television icon. Known and loved by thousands in the Miami Valley, his followers describe him as trust-worthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and a role model. When it comes to promoting your business, Buch has the ability to grab your customer’s attention.