Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Practicing Good Manners To A T(ea)

     Now don't get me wrong – I think good manners are important. I also think they boil down to treating each other with civility, which means respect and politeness. You know, like we treat others who are members of “our” political party.
     We all know that we should treat everyone like that, but with those thick-headed members of the “other” party, we are like the child who came home from his first day of kindergarten.
     When his mother asked what he learned today, he said, “I learned to say 'yes sir' and 'no sir' and 'yes mam' and 'no mam.'
     The mother said, “You did?”
     “Yeah,” was his answer.
     But after reading an article in this morning's newspaper, I am convinced that good manners can be, shall we say, overdone? The article, Follow these manners to a tea, lists some tips on the “correct” way to drink tea, at least in public.
     For example: “Rather than stirring tea, the correct way to incorporate milk is to place the teaspoon in the 6 o'clock position in the cup and gently fold the milk from 6 o'clock to 12 o'clock.” I'm sorry, but if I folded milk from 6 o'clock to 12 o'clock, my arm would drop off. Besides, wouldn't the tea be cold, or at least tepid?
     How about this: “Never leave the spoon in the mug or in an iced tea glass; instead, remove it and set it on a plate or napkin.” Well how stupid do they think we are? If we leave it in the mug we run an increased risk of eventually having to remove it from our eye.
     Another tip: “Sugar should be added after the milk, 1-2 teaspoons is the standard amount.” I suppose if you would like 3 teaspoons of sugar, or none, you could be black-balled. And if you want to be a rebel, add the sugar before the milk.
     And my favorite: “. . . if using a traditional tea cup (what other kind is there?) never loop your fingers through the handle, but rather grasp it with your thumb and first two fingers. Holding the pinkie up helps balance the cup to avoid spills.” I have yet to see a “traditional” tea cup with a handle through which I could loop my fingers. And second, eventually this could lead to a hinkie pinkie, for which there is no known cure.
     I have enough trouble practicing “regular” manners to a T, without trying to practice “elegant” manners to a tea.
     My books, “There Are Only Seven Jokes” and “The Spirit Runs Through It” are available in paperback or Kindle at Amazon.

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