Concept for a New Class

Posted: November 16, 2011 by S. Trevor Swenson in General
Tags: , , , , ,
"Why don't you call me sometime when you have no class?"

"Why don't you call me sometime when you have no class?"

Last summer I had to take a class called “Fundamentals in Professional Advancement”. I wrote about the class as I felt so very put out by having to take it. The class was at 8am, which to me is an unacceptable hour of operation.  It was also a class designed for youngsters who had never held down a full time job. We were taught about showing up on time for job interviews, not chewing gum during the interview, not putting your feet up on the interviewers desk and any number of painfully obvious career or job hunting pearls of wisdom.
I resented having to be there as I had been a member of the work force for 20 plus years. The teacher was a nice woman and I made her Summer a misery with my mumblings and cynically obnoxious commentary about the subject matter. Somehow I managed to get an A- in the class, instead of having school security escort me off campus, which is closer to what my behavior warranted. I am ashamed to say I even made the poor teacher cry once, which is something I hadn’t done since high school.
Looking back on the class though, I now see the validity of many of the things being taught. Sure, I knew these things, but many of the 18,19 and 20 year olds did not. One of my classmates was an army veteran and he had much the same “what a waste of time” attitude that I had.  He learned many of these common sense things in the military. So, as annoyed and put out as I was by having to take this mandatory class (did I mention it was at 8am?) I understood why the powers that be insisted it to be a part of the curriculum.

Today while waiting in line to buy cigarettes at a 7-Eleven, I saw some youngsters being clueless and annoying as

Don't strain your eyes rolling them too vigorously now

Don't strain your eyes rolling them too vigorously now

youngsters are known to be; holding up the line and being an over all nuisance. They were teenagers holding everyone else up by not having their shit together and were totally oblivious to this. “Yo, let me get a quarter for this slurpee nigga.” said an ever so stupid white boy with his pants hanging down around his ass and belted there. I hate that word. I hate it even more when white, Hispanic or Indian kids say it to each other. Then they moved on to the front door where they stood and chatted, blocking people from coming or going.

It dawned on me that it wouldn’t be a bad idea for this country to institute some kind of mandatory common sense, courtesy and manners class. Why not? We have health and hygiene classes. Years ago we used to have civics classes. California even tried to get “Ebonics” taught in some school systems. (When I think of that I can’t help but picture my fascist English teacher in 4th grade smacking the chalkboard  with her wooden pointer previously used for corporal punishment and making us recite verb conjugations. “We be, They be, and He, She or It be…”)
So, again, why not a class that teaches common sense, consideration, manners, etiquette, and acceptable behavior patterns? It would save money (Time is money and stupid, clueless people waste time…don’t even get me started on the therapy bills and medications), and most of us would be happier. I once saw a Twilight Zone episode in which the world was policed by hovering robotic pods, and things like behaving in a “cold” manner were punishable offenses. As a result, people behaved themselves, and all was right with the world. Since we don’t yet have the technology to employ drones to fly around tazering people who urinate on public toilet seats, I think this class idea is pretty strong.
Everyone lives in their own little bubble based on their experiences, personality and environment. However, there are many social annoyances that most of us can agree upon. The beauty of this concept is that it is something we all have in common. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, Democrat or Republican, old or young, gay or straight…all of us get annoyed by oblivious text messegers nearly colliding with our person. Personally, I am proud that a miserable curmudgeon such as myself, yes me…The “Dynamic Douchebag” can think of something so beneficial to humanity. Sadly, even when I do inevitably win the Nobel Prize for this concept, my mother will still find many things to disapprove of me for.
Here are a few issues that I would like to see addressed in this Social Propriety and Behavioral Arts class.  You have to give it a jazzy title.  Otherwise the kids don’t show up. I know this from blowing off Metal Shop in junior high.  Now they call it “Metalurgy”. I may have shown up occasionally.
Restaurant Behavior: How to figure out a tip, not snapping your fingers at waitresses or bartenders.
Shortcuts to Waiting in Lines: Use this time to figure out what you want, have your money out, don’t ask inane questions when the information is presented in front of you.
Grocery Stores: How to count to 12 items, don’t get into a check out line and then finish your shopping, don’t park your shopping cart vertically across the entire aisle.
Public Restrooms: Turn the water off after washing your hands, flush the toilet after using it, unless it is full of 60 pounds of paper and fecal matter, don’t write or draw on the walls unless it is something very clever.
Say “Thank You” if someone holds a door open for you, or picks up and hands you something you’ve dropped.

Cell Phone and Text Messaging: This is a hot button issue for me as my readers will already know. Being a firm believer in evolution, in a couple thousand years (hopefully sooner) human beings fingers will become longer and thinner and our eyes will gravitate to the sides of our skulls improving our peripheral vision, but until that day comes, how about looking up from the precious iphone once in a awhile, huh?  I have a theory that the aliens who regularly visit earth are just evolved human beings who have been using cell phones for centuries. This is based on the drawings and descriptions from the many campers and rednecks who have stumbled across our gray or green brothers from another galaxy. The reason they always end up on earth is because they were texting in light speed.

We also don’t need to hear you yelling at your kids, fighting with your significant other or speaking at a volume reserved for the legally deaf in close quarters.
Dating: Please ladies,  if you order something, eat it huh? Regardless of who is paying for the date, offer to get the tip or reach for your purse or wallet.
Movies: Like the theater, people should not be seated who arrive 10 minutes late. Also, a lengthy explanation that the actors in the film can’t hear the helpful suggestions you yell out at the screen.  Want to help?  Write Bruce Willis a letter and tell him that he should “get the hell outta there.”
Better late than never? Yeah, not so much really.

Better late than never? Yeah, not so much really.

Lateness:  This is abiggie with me and many people I know.  We all have that friend or those friends who just can’t manage to be on time no matter what the circumstances. It’s maddening and it’s totally unnecessary and selfish. My friend Robert, whom I love dearly is one of these special folks. I have no doubt in my mind if I were to executed by lethal injection and it was up to Robert to deliver the governors pardon, the last thing I would see before dying, would be Robert sauntering through the door of the room containing the witnesses to the execution, 40 minutes late, leisurely hanging up his coat and hat and flirting with a female guard.

I think cognitive, aversion or classical conditioning would all be effective therapies in “curing” the chronically late. For Robert I would simply lock him in a stuffy, brightly lit room without his beloved Lucky Strikes (or even better, with his cigarettes but without matches or a lighter.  Any smoker knows that’s worse)  I would tell Robert, “I’ll be back in 10 or 15 minutes to let you out.”  In the room I’d have a clock, a particularly ripe smelling wino, 3 of his ex girlfriends and a pair of Jehovah’s Witnesses with Awake magazines.  Essentially a situation that would put any southern chain gang’s sweat box to shame. I’d return 3 or 4 hours later, shrug and say “Sorry I’m Late.”
Certainly there is no shortage of topics to visit. I’d love to hear the issues that my readers would like addressed in regards to this class.
  1. Metallurgy class should include instruction on branding the chronically stupid, tardy and rude. Brands should be placed on the cheek where they cannot be hidden. This would serve to forewarn everyone of what to expect from the person with whom they are making plans.

    We need a class that teaches the proper meaning of the phrase “I’m on my way”. When a person says, “I’m on my way”, it should mean that they are physically en route to wherever I am. If you live 10 minutes from me and tell me that you are ‘on your way’ there is no excuse for you to show up 3 hours later.

    Worse than the late people are those who make plans then either bail out at the last moment or just don’t show up at all. Those are the people who I tell, when they’re stuck somewhere without a ride, that I’m ‘on my way’.

    Proper Use of a Belt 101 should be a required course. I hate when people hang their asses out of their jeans. Boxers do not offer enough in the way of fart filtration. Boxers are horribly thin and the fart passes right through the thin fabric with virtually no spores being caught by the fabric. I like 2 layers of fart filtration minimum—underwear then pants. I enjoy winter in Upstate New York because you tend to have 3 layers of fart filtration—undies, thermals then jeans.

  2. skinscream says:

    Don’t forget those blasted women, usually in pairs, who stop this side of the subway turnstile then plop their oversized handbags on the swiper to search for their Metrocards just as the announcement says your train is approaching. Typically, the first few cards have insufficient funds and by the time they each produce a card with some money on it, the train is long gone and THEY have the nerve to be angry. I think they are brethren (sistren?) to those other clueless nits who
    congregate inches from the turnstiles on the platform side & are clearly inconvenienced by the
    other people coming through disrupting their simple herds.
    “Turn Your Style for the Subway” maybe?

  3. Tiffany G. says:

    I think you should defiantly teach this class if it gets approval from your college. 🙂

  4. rmv says:

    question: why were you taking that class?

  5. Tallkronan says:

    It sounds like torture having to be in that class WITH those who actually needed to be there!


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