Posted by: Catadromy | November 28, 2010

Whatever Happened to Class?

There’s a great number in the musical Chicago where two of the characters bemoan the lack of class.  I’ve been hearing this song a lot in my head lately.  It’s been really crowded in there of late.  Inside my head, I mean.  Song fragments, to do lists, grocery lists, recipes I want to try, books I want to buy for my Kindle, the usual.  I am an awesome writer of lists, mostly because I love crossing off the things once they’re done.  Terrific feeling of accomplishment.  Something which is sorely lacking in my life of late.  Sigh.

Sort of a segue.  At one point in my career I worked for a person who was an absolute failure as a human being—still is, actually.  Let’s refer to this person as Bome (Bane Of My Existence).   Bome was a total hostage to personal demons and insecurities of all types.  I honestly don’t know how Bome managed to get through the day.  And some days, Bome just didn’t.  There were long stretches when Bome wouldn’t show up at work for weeks at a time.  When it was time for the annual performance review, the professional trait of mine that Bome was most critical of was that my standards were too high.   Seriously?  That’s the worst thing you can find to say about me?  My standards are too high?  How long and how hard did you have to look for that one?  I never asked anything of anyone that I didn’t ask of myself, but whatever.  At least I had standards.

Which brings me back to Chicago and class.  The opening verse of the song is:

“Whatever happened to fair dealing?
And pure ethics?
And nice manners?
Why is it everyone now is a pain in the ass?
Whatever happened to class?”

Manners were created for a purpose.  They’re mutable and adapt with the times and enable us to interact with each other in expected ways.  What’s so wrong with that?  And what’s so wrong with having ethics?  If people had ethics, we wouldn’t have the mortgage crisis, no Bernie Madoff, no Wall Street banker mess, no Goldman Sacks, no AIG and no Tea Party.

Now that’s a world I could live in.


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