March 19, 2014

DEAR MISS MANNERS:
It's not as easy as you imagine to be polite when you have to scrounge for a living. You give me a surefire way of getting rich quick, and I promise to behave perfectly from that moment on.

GENTLE READER:
Very well. Think of a business that particularly caters to some legitimate need of single people. There must be nothing about it that suggests recreation--not even music playing in the background. The atmosphere should be no-nonsense, utilitarian and eminently respectable. Then devise some way of keeping all your customers waiting. Service should be delayed just long enough to get people grumbling to one another, but not long enough to make them walk away in disgust. You should aim at having a good-sized group of unattached people standing together with a common practical purpose and nothing to do but to talk to one another while they wait. Miss Manners realizes that she has just described a laundromat, but perhaps you can think of something else.

My new rallying cry for the Nerf fights at work: "WELCOME TO SH*T-JUST-GOT-REAL-ISTAN. POPULATION: YOU"