My grandson, Nathaniel is three years old. On Sunday night, he put two TV trays on the floor and arranged two step-stools. One tray was a TV and the other a DVD player. He then stepped up on the tallest stool and gave a speech announcing: "Ladies & Gentlemen, I have an important job for you to do".
Although, he never specifies what important job he wants everyone to do, he does go on to tell you to have fun at the party.
Sadly, I think that we have lost the concept of Ladies and Gentlemen. Our manners and language has become crude and biting. My mother used to say, "act like a lady". That meant to my young ears, don't embarrass me.
As a mother myself, I have caught myself doing the same thing to my own children and grandchildren. Her idea of a lady was being careful how you sat in a chair, especially if you had a dress on. Whatever came out of your mouth had better be polite and worth saying. No slang or cuss words.
If you were a true gentlemen, you were expected to be very careful of your language when there were ladies present. No off-color jokes either.
I remember when I was about 9 or 10, I said a very bad female word. We were getting cows into the barn to milk them and she was holding a very large tree branch to poke the cows with. Out of her mouth came " Bonnie Faye Allen!!! --"WHAT DID YOU SAY?" Innocently, I repeated it. Where did you hear that word? "I read it in a book, I shakily reply." As you can imagine, all I could think about was that huge tree branch that she still had in her hand.
From then on, I was only allowed to read Reader's Digest Condensed books during the summer months. If I should happen to say an inappropriate word, my parents sent me to get the dictionary in order to understand the meaning of the word that just flew out of my mouth. As you can guess, I used the dictionary quite often growing up.
I never thought I would see a Vice President use an f-bomb on live TV to express his excitement over the passage of a law. We all know that no one is perfect, but was it necessary? A college educated man with thousands of words in his vocabulary and he used the simplest and crudest word he could think of?
There isn't enough soap in the world to wash away the nasty words spoken in society today. Every day, we are inundated with the stink of garbage that comes out of people's mouths.
It is everywhere! TV, Radio, Books, Conversations and even by the Internet. It is like all of the garbage men of the world went on strike and we are stepping gingerly over the refuse.
In my own life, I have begun to watch what I say and cringe when my grandchildren hear something inappropriate on the TV before I can change the channel.
It boggles my mind that movie makers who go to college and write scripts that contain more "Fred made fudge" sentences than actual dialogue.
So where would you find a Lady or Gentleman in the 21st Century? They are as rare as any endangered species on the planet. A person does not have to be wealthy or educated in their conversation, only mindful that they do not offend someone with a blue word or two.
I want my grandchildren to know what the true meaning of Ladylike and Gentlemanly conduct is. We have traded our freedom of speech in this country for garbage. Our fields of language should consist of sweet-smelling flowers instead of the manure of a stockyard.
I cannot change the world or the prevailing attitudes toward limited and coarse language. But I can change myself and present a better example to my family, friends and workplace.
And what a joy it would be to have fun at the party. We could have animated conversations that would not be offensive to anyone. So Ladies and Gentlemen, "We have a very important job to do! "