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Illegitimi non carborundum

Well, we won’t go into what that title actually means but if you just have to know then you can click here. This phrase was quoted to me by one of my dear friends after I ranted and raved over the poor manners of today’s society. This led me to wonder how many of us do-gooders have suffered at the hands of the discourteous.

As I began this post, I conducted some minor research and discovered that there is no online list of rules that sum up the “right” thing to do. There is a mighty fine guide to man law but really nothing that deals with common courtesy. You want examples? Oh, I got plenty:

  • I flew 3,000 miles to help a friend unpack into a new house and my friend did not pick me up from the airport — I had to rent a car and drive to their doorstep. Upon my arrival, they wanted to go out to lunch. Guess who had to pay? Then they informed me that in the time that I had purchased my tickets and flown out, they had acquired a roommate and would I mind staying in a hotel? I paid for the hotel room, too.
  • A man and his family announced to some very good folks that he had no clue how he was going to heat his house in the winter because he had not chopped any wood and couldn’t afford to buy it already chopped. Those very good folks took pity on him and offered to share their wood. The man told them when and where to deliver it. They did. They pulled up to a house that was much nicer than their own, with two trucks in the driveway, and there he was in a lawn chair directing them to the spot where he wanted the wood unloaded. Not a thank you, no hot chocolate, and no help. They gave him the wood and left feeling horrible.
  • A coworker borrowed our floor steamer and returned it covered in wet fur and dirt. It was also broken. He didn’t even say thank you or “sorry I ruined it by using it in my filthy hovel and then throwing it in the back of my truck to roll around and break.”

And the laws:

  • If someone has flown to visit you (or help you move) you should pick them up from the airport and find a place for them to stay free of charge.
  • If someone is helping you move then you should probably do one or all of the following: pay for their gas, feed them, offer them cool drinks, and build a shrine to the helpful folks who are willing to box up your piles of junk and lug it to your new digs.
  • Return anything borrowed in as good or better condition than you found it.
  • Say thank you.
  • NEVER sit on your hind end while you are being helped.

Now, don’t think that I am opposed to helping people in need or that I plan on stopping because of a few ill-mannered individuals. Nope. Part of living in the country is helping out the neighbors (read about some country help here) when they are in need. From barn-raisings to herding cattle back through broken fences, part of simple living is illegitimi non carborundom (not letting the ____ grind you down) and continuing to uphold the standards set by previous generations. But those rules need to be written down somewhere for the masses to consult. Don’t you think?

So, I thought I would put it to you, my wonderful friends. Please, I implore you to write out such an experience and then make up some laws to go with it. And please just smile at the pictures I included in this post — they were taken in the process of moving cross-country to our little simple-living corner of Georgia.

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