Commentary

Mr. Manners helps us all

Originally Published: March 22, 2011
By DJ Gallo | Page 2

It has been more than two months since Mr. Manners last shared his etiquette genius with the sports world. To delay his knowledge from reaching those who so desperately need it any longer would be impolite. So let's begin ...


Dear Mr. Manners,
Following the recent earthquake ... and subsequent tsunami ... and subsequent nuclear reactor crisis in Japan, I took to Twitter and said that God probably sent the devastation their way because they deserve it, especially since Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. Good points, don't you think?
-- Cappie P. (New York)

Dear Nonsense in New York,
What the? I don't write a Mr. Manners for a couple months and this is what I return to? Wow. Just ... wow. I feel like all of my previous behavioral work in the field of sporting men and women has been for naught. I don't really have anything to say to you specifically. You are likely hopeless in the manners department. So I will instead speak generally about Twitter and manners.

I am not against modernity. In fact, just last night I drank a bottle of wine from this century. However, this Twitter does not mix with refined behavior. A refined gentleman or lady writes out his or her feelings with a quill pen on a bit of parchment.

Assuming that you have even one brain cell, I trust that if you had sat down at your desk and set pen to paper with this -- "What if God was tired of the way they treated their own people in there own country! Idk guys he makes no mistakes." -- you wouldn't have even gotten to "Idk," let alone your following Pearl Harbor tweet, before you thought to yourself: What the hell am I writing? I can't let anyone know I ever even thought this, let alone wrote it. I am so ashamed.

Because writing with a quill pen takes time. And time gives a chance to realize you're a moron. Also, if you happen to spill some brandy on paper, it's not a problem; you can just start with a new sheet of paper. But if you spill brandy on your smart phone, you're out 300 bucks. Trust me. I know.
-- Mr. Manners


Dear Mr. Manners,
I am a leader of young men. I have always preached honesty and integrity. I don't practice honesty and integrity, however. At all. Is "Do as I say, not as I do" a good life approach? Note: It's worked well for me so far. Quite well, in fact.
-- Jim T. (Columbus, Ohio)

Dear Cheating In Columbus,
Actions speak louder than words. (Especially if you are running around and yelling, because then you are in action and your words are really loud.)

Just because something is working for you and you are getting away with it doesn't mean it's right. Eventually your actions will catch up to you and you will be caught and exposed as a complete fraud. And even if not, your conscience will eat away at you and leave a permanent mark, like a tattoo gun cutting into human flesh.
-- Mr. Manners


Dear Mr. Manners,
I knowingly broke some NCAA rules, misled investigators and now I lost my job because of it. But after I was caught I apologized. And I have been a consistent winner as head coach. Should I have been fired?
-- Bruce P. (Knoxville, Tenn.)

Dear Bummed Bruce,
I am not an attorney. I find the law crude and unnecessary. We wouldn't have a need for laws if everyone just practiced the three tenets of good manners: 1) Treat others with respect; 2) Always dress smartly; 3) Never show up late to a dinner party.

So I can't speak to the merits of your termination. Chances are you violated some sort of behavioral or ethics clause in your contract.

I do know for sure, however, that you violated one of the tenets of good manners. Based on the photo enclosed in your letter, you have not always dressed smartly. In fact, you have violated TWO of the tenets. You did not dress smartly AND you did not treat my eyes with respect. So if it was up to me, I definitely would have fired you.
-- Mr. Manners


Dear Mr. Manners,
Can I hit a guy in the head with my elbow when I'm playing hockey?
-- Trevor G. (Long Island, NY)

Dear Elbowing Islander,
No.
-- Mr. Manners


Dear Mr. Manners,
What about me? Can I hit a guy in the head with my elbow when I'm playing hockey?
-- Matt C. (Pittsburgh)

Dear Mean Matt,
Also no. And because my lovely manners assistant, Miss Manners, says I have a whole stack of letters from NHL players asking if they can hit people in the head with their elbows, that goes for everyone.

No hitting people in the head with your elbow.

You can hurt someone that way. A concussed brain is not a well-mannered brain. How can someone attend the opera if they struggle with light and sound? Too many professional athletes have had their opera-attending days cut short by shots to the head.
-- Mr. Manners


Dear Mr. Manners,
What about me? Can I hit a guy in the head with my elbow? (Note: I'm not a hockey player. I am trying to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement for some football players who have been locked out by their league.)
-- DeMaurice S. (New York)

Dear New York Negotiator,
OK. Your case is different. You can elbow a guy in the head. But not too hard, OK?
-- Mr. Manners

DJ Gallo is the founder and sole writer of the sports satire site SportsPickle.com. He also is a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine and has written for The Onion and Cracked. His first book, "SportsPickle Presents: The View from the Upper Deck," is on sale now.


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