Sunday, November 13, 2005

Talk To The Hand, Lynne Truss

Lynne Truss has done it again. She has brought us a book that humorously points out minor flaws in our society that lead to bigger problems when left unchecked. Yes, Eats, Shoots and Leaves did that with its lambast of dropped apostrophes - which can lead to illiteracy and stupidity. Right? Okay, maybe not. But her new book is less a trove of how *to* behave as it is a long essay pondering our lack of general politeness. Am I terrible, rude person because I occasionally spit my gum out my car window? Maybe. But I know I treat people with empathy and politesse in the dry, rude retail industry in which I work.

Truss has written a diatribe here and it is hilariously funny. Especially for anyone who has had overexposed, prolonged contact with the general public. The deeper implications of what happens when we need to not only have our own personal space bubble, but still respect others is clear. If we don't learn to find a balance in this world of what we can do as an individual and how we need to acknowledge the existence of those around us, civilization as we know it will collapse. Okay, maybe not. But when a young man on a bus in London gets stabbed several times for being brave enough to simply point out that it would be nice for his girlfriend to not have chips thrown at her by another young man; this illustrates a point. We aren't allowed to point out when another person is *clearly* crossing the lines of politeness for fear we will be hurt by the offender. But the offender won't stop unless someone points out to him that what he is doing is not exactly considerate. This example goes beyond personal preferences of privacy or how we feel about people who talk loudly on their cell phones or who forget to say a simple "please" or "thank you" in public exchanges. And therein is the problem. If we can't even talk about these minor infractions that have nothing to do with our own private lives, but everything to do with basic respect of other human beings; how can we expect to solve any greater problems in our lives and communities?

Wait! Despite my depressing commentary here, Talk To The Hand is a delightfully funny book to which any person who has been in public for even an hour in the last year will be able to relate.

Reccommended for Cranky Pants and Sentimental Folks Wanting a Return to the Olden Days and Anyone With a Dose of Common Sense

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