Manners are incredibly important in today’s society because people who don’t write thank-you notes get smallpox and die. Or at least, that’s what my great aunt told me. Fortunately I seem to be immune to smallpox. One would think my great aunt would be relieved, but instead she just seems to grow more bitter as I tempted fate each year by refusing to write cards.


I understood the concept but the logic seemed fuzzy. I’d already told the person “thank you” in person, and I’d never had anyone stop me mid-thank-you to scream, “PUT IT IN WRITING.”  

Now that I’m older, when I get a handwritten thank-you card, I always keep it and feel very guilty for not responding with a handwritten “You’re welcome” card. And even if I did manage to write one, the person would feel obligated to send a “No, really. You shouldn’t have” card and then I’d be forced to send a “Don’t mention it" card. Seriously. "Don’t mention it again OR I WILL STAB YOU” card and then eventually everyone hates each other and we’ve killed an entire tree doing it. That’s why I just prefer to be lazy and rude, but in a way that only pisses off people who are real assholes about stuff no one else cares about. 

This makes me the perfect person to teach your children manners. Because I only give a shit about important stuff. And that’s an excellent lesson to learn. In fact, that’s the first lesson: Give a shit about important stuff. This includes remembering birthdays, or at least finding someone who remembers birthdays to remind you of birthdays. Or you could do what I do and just send out presents to everyone at the beginning of the year and tell everyone that you’re doing birthdays early in case you get eaten by a cougar. That shows caring, foresight, and a kind of flexibility people enjoy. Plus, it’s helpful if you do actually get eaten by a cougar.

Lesson 2: It’s rude to eat sushi with your fingers but it’s far worse to point that out to someone eating sushi with their fingers because I can actually use these chopsticks, thankyouverymuch. I can use them to gouge out your eyes. 

Lesson 3: Always apologize for gouging out people’s eyes. = It’s something we threaten ... not something we do. Mostly. Depends on the circumstances really.

Lesson 4: Remember where you came from. Some people believe this refers to the importance of being humble and grounded, but I think it’s really more about not getting so drunk you can’t remember your home address because eventually the cabbie will just wait until you pass out and toss you out onto someone’s lawn. That’s rude and should be avoided. By you and the cabbie.

Lesson 5: Don’t eat with your mouth open unless you need to tell someone their hair is on fire. Never wait to tell someone his or her hair is on fire. That’s the real lesson here. 

Lesson 7: Do unto others as you would have done to you. These are manners from the Bible. Many of the manners you learn from the Bible are suspect at best but this one holds up. If you want to have a friend, be a friend. If you want a backrub, give a backrub. If you want another pony, share your pony. You’re not going to finish that whole pony yourself. That pony could feed a whole town. 

Lesson 8: Don’t eat your pony. That’s just bad pony-owning.

Lesson 9 - 10: ... unless the pony was already dead and was a gift from your great aunt who is from a country where they eat pony. Then you have to take one bite. And write a thank-you note. And go to therapy. For a long, long time.

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