Where are our manners?

Somewhere along the way, we seem to have become a less polite society and I’m not sure where the trend started or what caused it. You know what I’m talking about. We’ve had bad drivers for years, weaving in and out of traffic, cutting people off. But the incidents of road rage appear to be growing or perhaps they’rejust getting more publicity. I’ve been driving since the early 70s and I don’t remember too many reports back then of people getting revenge on someone else with a vehicle. Oh, don’t think I don’t get P-Od about some of the driving I’ve encountered and I’ve probably made a few folks mad as well. I’d like to think most of mine are unintentional and I’ve waved sheepishly at someone and attempted to voice an apology when I’ve inched over into their lane when I didn’t see them.
Once when I was trying to find my way around Tampa about 20 years ago I pulled out from a parking lot onto a street. I didn’t see the car coming from my right and when we stopped at the traffic light a half block down the road, the young guy driving, got out of his car, came over and started screaming outside my window. I tried to tell him I was sorry but he ended up spitting on the car window. I think it’s safe to say he had some issues before I showed up in his life.
People in the news business can be rude as well, although for the most part everyone gets along. Sometimes the pressure to get an interview can make the newsies forget their manners. I’ve been there and I know it can happen. I’ve done my share of apologizing for the toes I’ve stepped on. Generally speaking, while news folks are competitive, they get along and don’t intentionally do things to screw up someone else’s shot or interview. Oh, their are exceptions to every rule and there’s always someone out there who thinks the world revolves around him or her. They get a particular delight in being able to say they “busted” someone else’s shot or interview.
In my early days of working down on the river, there was a videographer from the competition who loved to step into everyone else’s shot. He thought he was pretty cool and even hung a large pair of blue fuzzy dice on the back of camera. I heard more than one shooter complain about this guy and they had asked him not to do it. He told them he was just doing his job. One shooter finally taught this guy a lesson at the federal building during a “perp walk” off an elevator. All of the shooters started rolling when the elevator door opened and the “perp” started toward the metal detector. The photogs are all walking backward through the metal detector with the perp walking toward them. When the guy with the fuzzy dice on his camera got into the metal detector, he found his way was blocked by the other shooters behind him and anyone who has ever shot video knows that the metal detector with screw up your video.
It didn’t have to be that way and if the guy had just played nice, everyone could have gotten what they needed and everybody would have been happy.
Yes, you can be competitive without being in someone else’s face. We seem to have forgotten that you can win and be gracious in winning. Of course, that sounds old fashioned and it’s not as much fun as getting into someone’s face. But just remember, even the best of folks and organizations don’t always win. And crow is pretty hard to choke down when its cold.

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5 Comments on “Where are our manners?”

  1. Doug Johnson Says:

    You know Joe, some of our past bosses considered you “too nice” (as if that were a bad thing). But there can be a lack of manners in the field.

    I was in Dyer County with your former Mid-South Outdoors photographer covering tornado damage, when all the shooters were doing the backwards shuffle as the governor surveyed the damage. A shooter from Union Ave. was getting ready to back into a twisted fence post. Dan caught this out of the side of his eye and stiff-armed the guy out of the way, keeping him from tearing his back up. The other shooter took it the wrong way and was ready start swinging until I pointed out his near miss. Placated, he went back to shooting — but didn’t apologize for almost making a big mistake (Dan’s a nice guy, but way too big to mess with) OR thank Dan for the assist.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    I wouldn’t mess with the shooter who blocked the metal detector, either 🙂


  3. Anonymous Says:

    Is Omari Fleming available?

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Hi Joe, I stumbled upon this while googling for Manners and recognized your name. So here I am.
    Has anyone ever checked for a connection between road rage and drug abuse? I started a job about a year ago and the business is growning. I’m finding it’s hard find men or women between the ages of 18 – 25 that are not on drugs. None of them have manners and they have no respect for any form of authority.
    What happens if we as a society don’t quit ignoring the problem. If we don’t hire employees with drug problems we won’t have employees at all. Our CEO seems to think that a drugged employee is better than no employee. I just see that eventually all our insurance preminums will triple, and there will be more accidents in on the job site.

  5. Joe Larkins Says:

    It is kind of scary. Still, I don’t blame drugs or substance abuse as the reason for a lack of manners in the workplace. I think it’s a change in cultural values, a lack of training at home and an “all about me” attitude among way too many people.
    I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

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