Our society is getting far too casual.
The art of letterwriting is becoming a thing of the past as we are all hooked up to our iPhones and iPads and iWhatevers.
The social media is a wonderful thing, but I’m beginning to think it’s replacing human contact, and it’s definitely wiping out the need for grammar and spelling.
I remember my grammar school teachers stressing the importance of sentence construction… the noun, the verb, the adjective and such. And spelling bees were quite the thing back then.
I still remember my parents and grandparents shooting words at me the day before a test and having me spell the words.
Some of my favorite memories of my grandmother are helping her feed the animals on the farm as she calls out words like “wheat” or “quack” or “chirp,” depending of course on what animal we were feeding at the time. My grandfather would give me a quarter for every “A” I brought home. We kept the quarters in a tiny little cedar chest, a souvenir from Myrtle Beach. And when I had saved enough quarters, we would go out on a little spending spree. Hey! Back then—no matter what my stepson, nieces and nephews think—it was after dinosaurs roamed the earth, and $5 worth of quarters was a fortune to an eight-year-old.
What would Granny and Grampa think today when a typical teenage sentence comes over a handheld device that would read something like, “C U @ lnch/BKing k?”
And the answering text would read, “K Snds gud”
And it’s not just letter writing either. Appropriate dressing seems to have gone the way of the covered wagons.
We just returned from a week in New York, and of course, we attended a Broadway play. I still remember my first play out in California. It was at the Pantages Theater on Hollywood and Vine. I was so excited. And when we got to the play everyone was dressed up. The men were in suits and ties, and every woman there was in a dress. You just couldn’t help but feel glamorous and sophisticated. It was the same for my first Broadway play in New York. The women were still dressed up, and the men were still in suits. And that, in case you were wondering, was in the 1990s.
We had tickets for “Spiderman” in the Big Apple this time, and since the temperatures were hugging the 20s, I was angst-ridden about what to wear. I mean none of the dresses I brought would withstand the icy air, so I opted for a very nice pant and cashmere ensemble which included pearls and heels. When we got to the theater and got settled in our seats, as people began taking off their coats, I was astounded. There was a couple behind us that had just come from a football game and still had on their school sweatshirts and sneakers.
A friend of mine is a drama coach, and he took a group of his students to a show in New York a few years ago. He admonished them to “dress” for the occasion as he wanted them to enjoy the full Broadway experience.
He said when he and his group arrived in the theater lobby, people stared at them as if they were aliens fresh off the flying saucer. No one was wearing a dress. Everyone was in jeans and T-shirts.
I guess I’m lamenting the traditions that I grew to love as a kid and young adult. Back then— and again, there were no dinosaurs or covered wagons— certain things begged for snappy dressing and a hand-written thank-you note was a sign of excellent manners and good breeding.
Today, you can show up in a shower curtain for any event and a thank-you note can be “tweeted” with under ten letters.
OMGTS! (Oh my gosh…that stinks!)
I’m just saying…