I remember when…

Never thought I would turn into the type curmudgeon who complained about the way things are today; much preferring the way things were when I was young. Sadly, I have become just that.  

However, that being said, I would like to memorialize a few things lest these things be lost in the annals of time with all the other historical rewrites which seem to make the rounds. These are not things open for debate.  

I remember the way it was in the good, old days. I was there. I don’t require any assistance recollecting from any of you. Please forgive the seething acrimony.  

First of all, I remember when we didn’t have to agree politically to get along. That was back in the day when polite people didn’t bring up religion or politics in polite society. It was unseemly. It was ill-mannered.

We believed someone’s political leanings were better left private. How one voted when he (or she) pulled the curtain around himself (or herself) was that man’s (or woman’s) own business. 

Speaking of the rather painstakingparenthetical effort you have just witnessed me undertake, in the above paragraph, I also remember when we could generally refer to the population with a masculine pronoun. Of course I was referencing people in general, and not just the males. It was appropriate, in my day, to make such a general reference using the masculine form. 

I have no recollection of women being offended by this. They may well have been, but it would have been unseemly and ill-mannered for them to initiate a confrontation about it.  

Ships and motor-vehicles were always referenced by the use of a feminine pronoun. The earth was referenced in the feminine form and called “Mother-Earth.” None of the above bothered me in the slightest. It was just the grammatical rule or custom. 

There are (allegedly) 52 separate genders now. I remember when there weren’t but two. 

Having to take the time to make specific reference to all 52 genders, of which I may be able (on a good day) to name 7, is more time than I wish to allot to the expression of that particular thought. I am sorry if you find this offensive.

Getting back to discussing politics in public, discussing politics was expected on the editorial page of a newspaper. It came with the job-title, Editor.

Were I not this newspaper’s editor, I wouldn’t share my political views with any of you. It wouldn’t be polite. I wouldn’t want to offend you.

I make no apologies for my political views appearing as part of my editorials. The editorial page is where such things should be discussed.  

If you invite me to dinner, I will not share those viewpoints around your table. I promise, even if you inquire.  

Now, in the good old days, if you disagreed with the editor, you wrote him a scathing letter to which you signed your name. The paper would print your letter right in the public record, usually on the editorial-page, in a section called “Letters to the Editor.” 

We had brave men and women back in the day, not cowards. These citizens possessed convictions and didn’t shy away from voicing it, in the correct forum and at an appropriate time. To reiterate, this wasn’t discussed around the dinner-party table in front of guests who we didn’t wan’t to make feel either un-welcomed or uncomfortable.

I can also remember when children were taught to have manners. When I was growing up, I was taught which fork to use with what course and to refer to any elder at least 10-years my senior as Sir or Ma’am.  

I would have never dreamt of referring to a teacher, or a coach, by his or her given name. Coaches were Coach Smith, and teachers were either Mr. Smith or Mrs. Smith, if she were married.  

It was Miss (Ms.) Smith if she wasn’t married. We could tell, right off, the marital status of (at least) roughly half of the population that way, not that Ms. Smith’s private life was any of our affair, because it wasn’t.

When I was growing up, we spoke to everyone we knew, calling them by name, even if we disliked them. Recognizing someone’s presence was a sign you knew them. It didn’t mean you liked them.  

That is one other thing I would address. We really didn’t know, and could therefore imagine, that most of our associates liked us, even when they didn’t. 

You see, in the good old days, unless you gained access to someone’s diary, you really could just assume the people you regularly encountered liked you. You didn’t have to be confronted with a “truth” which could make your continued association uncomfortable. 

After all, Jackson, Kentucky is a small town. We tend to perpetually travel in the same or similar social circles.  

Nowadays, because of social media, I feel like everyone’s every thought is published right into the public record, lain bare, for all to see. My being perpetually reminded how insidious you find me really isn’t necessary.

Social media has taught me most of you find me repulsive. I believe I would be much the richer were I not to know that. I don’t like many of you any better than you like me but I am not going around posting that to my Facebook or Twitter accounts.  

I much prefer encountering you believing we are friends. If you are going to stab me, I prefer the knife be deposited in my back. 

I don’t need to be stabbed in the face. I don’t want to see it coming.

Anyway, we really need to get ourselves in check. This constant bickering isn’t good for our communities and it is setting a very poor example for our children.  

Let us endeavor to return to some semblance of civility. Keep your political beliefs private unless you are writing me at the paper upset with my editorial. Should you do that, sign it, and we will be happy to run it the next week. 

Many of the things I was taught growing up is what made living in small-town America bearable. How about we turn-back the clock and practice some good, old-fashioned manners. 

You can take this for whatever you find it worth, but THAT’S THE LONG VERSION!

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