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Day: April 16, 2012

“Would It Kill You to Stop Doing That? A Modern Guide to Manners” by Henry Alford


“Would It Kill You to Stop Doing That? A Modern Guide to Manners” by Henry Alford

c.2012, Twelve
$24.99 / $27.99Canada
243 pages



Stop it.

Just cut it out. Quit snuffling, chomping your gum, and snapping your fingers in people’s faces. Don’t be rude and don’t do that thing with your foot, okay? Stop with those annoyingly intrusive questions, and by the way, no one appreciates your disgusting bodily noises.

Just. Quit. It.  And because we don’t need any finger-pointing…“please.”

Why is it that manners are something we possess but no one else does?  Why do some things bother us, while others don’t?  And, as author Henry Alford asks with his new book, “Would It Kill You to Stop Doing That?”

Why do we bother with manners?  Henry Alford wondered that while he was in Tokyo. Japan, he says, is the “Fort Knox of the World Manners Reserve,” but we here in North America know a few things about that subject, too.

Scientists know, for instance, that we’re nicer to people we know. We define manners, not as protocol (a subset of mannerly behavior), but as sensitivity to others. Experts have hypothesized from where “Southern Charm” sprang. And when it comes to manners, we unequivocally say that we present good manners, while bad manners are what others have.

Of course, though, in our zeal to be polite, we do boneheaded things. We don’t think. We don’t listen. We say “no problem” instead of “thank you,” or we apologize insincerely or not at all. We bum-pat, hug (or are horrified by huggers), and we often eschew email etiquette.

So why are we this way?  One of the reasons might be what doctors call “inattentional blindness,” which means that we’re too focused on other things, to the detriment of being nice. We might not be adept at small talk. We hide behind a group, an email alias, or a Facebook page because we can.

There are things we can do about widespread rudeness, however. Summon your inner chat-ability at parties, but know that there are limits. Teach manners to your children. Pay attention to cultural differences. Cultivate the art of the smart (but ohhh-so-genteel) comeback.

“Would It Kill You to Stop Doing That?” is a quirky book. It’s not exactly an etiquette book, although there’s advice in here. It’s not a how-to, either, unless you do a lot of reading between the lines.

No, I think this book is more of a look at how we behave (or don’t) and why it bothers author Henry Alford – and that last part is what makes this book worth a read: Alford is pretty good at being Everyman. Like him, aren’t we all grossed-out by unflushed public toilets?  Don’t we all hate drivers with perpetually turned-on turn signals?  Haven’t we all committed a faux pas that made us want to slink away?

This book holds a mirror up to our foibles and though it, too, has its impolite moments, it’s also got some laughs. I think if you’re rubbed wrong by rudeness, you’ll like it but beware – start reading “Would It Kill You to Stop Doing That?” and you may not be able to stop.

Terri Schlichenmeyer is based in Wisconsin.

Keizer man was driver of car that crashed into home

By Eric A. Howald
Of the Keizertimes 

The three occupants of a car that crashed into a home north of Keizer Saturday, April 14, had consumed enough alcohol to intoxicate almost nine people, officials from Marion Country Sheriff’s Office said.

The three vehicle occupants Jesse Fordyce, 24, of Keizer,  Allison Hyer, 21, of Silverton, and  James Horvath, 19, were all injured in the crash.

Hunter and Deputy Brian Dunkin arrived in the 6500 block of 22nd Avenue, northwest of Keizer at about 1:15 a.m., to find a 1999 Honda crashed into the front of the house.

Photo submitted by Marion County Sheriff's Office

The homeowner reported hearing a car approaching on Niagra, near 22nd Avenue.  The car failed to negotiate the curve in the road, crashed through a fence, traveled 200 feet across a large field, sideswiped a tree, then hit the corner of the residence before impacting the front porch and coming to rest.

The homeowner ran to assist, but was unable to get the occupants out of the car, Sheriff’s office officials said. Damage to both the vehicle and house was significant.

Marion County Fire District and Keizer Fire District medics responded to assist in extricating three occupants of the vehicle.  All three were transported to the Salem Hospital where they were treated for their injuries. The front seat airbags deployed, but none of the occupants were wearing seatbelts.

Fordyce, the driver, is still at the hospital and deputies have been unable to obtain his statement.

The owner of the car, Hyer’s brother who was not in the car at the time of the crash, told deputies that the occupants were attending a family party at a home on 22nd Avenue. He told deputies he didn’t know why his sister left in the car, but assumed it was to make a “beer run.”

The investigation will be completed when deputies are able to take a statement from Fordyce. At that time, Fordyce will likely face criminal charges for his driving actions.

Stormwater awareness improving

Of the Keizertimes

The city’s stormwater and runoff education efforts were recently put to the test.

And while the personnel in charge of administering the program were pleased with overall response, they’ve also identified areas where public knowledge tends to be lacking.

For example, some 38 percent of respondents to the city’s recent stormwater survey said waste from domestic pets like dogs and cats are the most problematic contributor of bacteria into local waterways.

The correct answer is ducks and geese, said Elizabeth Sagmiller, stormwater program manager.

“Congregations of birds being fed by humans create unnatural plumes of contaminants not consistent with a properly functioning ecosystem,” Sagmiller said.

Previous survey results showed residents were less willing to stop feeding waterfowl, but were likely to pick up waste from their own pet animal, she said.

Sagmiller also said more education was necessary to let the public know where stormwater goes once it enters a drain: Into local waterways, untreated. Just more than half knew this, survey results show.

Other highlights from the survey:

• About three in five respondents correctly said street and parking lot drains are connected to the stormwater system, and are not designed for disposing of anything other than water.

• About 75 percent knew healthy vegetation along waterways helps keep streams cool, and just less than half responded correctly that erosion reduction was key to keeping waters clear.

The survey was completed by 838 people. Half were ages 60 and up, with less than one percent coming from the 18-25 age group.