Never underestimate the power of good manners

From the Sunday, January 8, 2012 New York Times magazine article “How Many Stephen Colberts Are There?

Colbert, who is good at compartmentalization, manages in spite of this exhausting schedule to make time for his family. For some of the writers, the job is more all-consuming. One of them, Opus Moreschi, told me that he solves the problem of how to balance the job and a life by forgoing the life. “Basically, I’ve never had a life except for comedy, so it isn’t that much of a problem,” he said. Yet for all the demands that Colbert puts on his staff members, he is apparently beloved by them. “There are a lot of unhappy people in comedy,” Purcell said, “and sometimes you get a very radioactive vibe. But Stephen has an excellent way of treating people. You should never underestimate the power of good manners.”

On a related front, I was at the meat counter at my local Whole Foods, trying to get the butchers to make a batch of ground chicken necks for me (dog food for Frankie), and sometimes they don’t really want to do this because I guess it’s a pain in the ass for them, but I made my pitch and ended it with “Please.” At that the butcher looked up at me and smiled. “In that case…” he said. “Doesn’t everyone say ‘please’ when they want something from you.” By his look, he said “no.” Which I found dispiriting. Really? People don’t say, “Could I get a pound of ground turkey, please?” Apparently not. Channel Nancy Reagan’s war on drugs motto and “Just say please.” Didn’t your mother teach you to always say “please”?

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