When I was a kid (or young adult for those who don’t like the word used for a baby goat = “kid”), my mom and dad would always make sure I said “Yes Ma’am” or “Yes Sir” to the adults.

I always chalked it up to old fashioned values, and my mom being from rural Marion & then Murray, Kentucky, and my dad from growing up on a prosperous West Tennessee farm.

I have a lot of respect for mom and dad, it’s just that it sounds funny when my dad, in his 70’s, would address another adult in their late 90’s in the same manner as you’d picture a country school boy from the 1800’s adressing a customer at the country store…”Yeesss Ma’am” or “Yeess Sir” to this elederly person.

Now, as I began to get a few years ahead of me, into my teens, I sometimes thought my folks ways were a bit old-fashioned, but sensible. Dad would always say that I would think they were a lot smarter the older I got, but simply because he made that statement, I refused to accept it well into my twenties, just to show him he was wrong!

Still, though, that leading by example would become ingrained in me for years, so I began mimicking their training and action. After a quick “Yes Sir”, I would often have an adult say, just call me “Bill”, so wanting to please both Bill and my parents, I would call him “Mr. Bill”, (laugh) or maybe that was “Mr. Dave”.

Mr. Bill was a cartoon character that one of my cousins in California helped draw. Most people my age don’t remember Mr. Bill, “oh my!”.

Well, anyway, now sometimes when I drive I listen to NPR. It’s not that I necessarily endorse NPR’s sometimes liberal slant, it’s just that I get tired of hearing repetitive music piped from a computer controlled satellite beaming the same twenty top-twenty songs from the 70’s to a local radio station, where a DJ can’t mix it up a bit, or throw in the occasional unheard of artist from the era. Anyhow, I digress, as usual.

A few weeks ago on NPR, as I was listening and sensibly driving the speed limit through town, a moderator and lady were talking about the use of the phrase “Ma’am”. Apparently some women don’t take to the term, because of several reasons, some of them feeling it makes them feel old, and others because they simply don’t think the term really identifies anything relative to them being a human being, and muddles the conversation. They simply prefer being addressed with no preconceived “prefix” or just by their name, and although I’d have thought the idea was a concoction of feminist extremism in the past, it seems a sensible enough request now that it was explained to me via this program.

So that leads me to my point, with Misters and Misses aside, where has common courtesy gone today?

Following along the same logic as here-to-for mentioned, many of the so-called ‘adults’ today no longer deserve the term of respect “adult” unless we are to use the term as I use it to describe bugs and insects, and that is when I describe them as having achieved a state of physical, though not necessarily mental, progress.

Now, I don’t mean this towards adults who treat younger adults like myself (35 years gained as of May) with respect and courtesy, I mean those “adults”, or age-increased homo-sapians, who don’t seem to have the time of day to lend a full minute or two to a young person who is trying to make a place for themselves in society (“themselfs” is an elf that isn’t spelled right, according to Mr. Spell Checker).

It really burns me to go into a local business, just a half block from my home and my office, some of whom belong to the same Chamber of Commerce I just joined, and they don’t offer me the basic welcome fitting of a member of their neighborhood, or existence. This same lack of common courtesy often manifests itself in customer courtesy when we hire service people or when dealing with sales people. And it is getting worse. After all, many of the “adults” have failed to lead by example for the “kids”. Being someone who has a lack of self-esteem, occasionally, I take it as personal, but I simply have to remember that it is that they simply don’t have the respect or care for human beings in general that I or others may have.

The only problem with this is that it trickles down, and when we stop being that example, whether we’re in our teens, thirties, or seventies, that example stops getting passed down. These ideals of respect for the human population gets lost, and as a society we start maturing primarily based on age rather than on knowledge, contribution, respect, and caring.

Patrick Perry, Perry’s Pest Control