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Mind Your Manners

Should we pay more attention to mores?

If you could enforce one rule of etiquette, what would it be—and how would it improve social interaction?We asked PT 's bloggers ( ) about their peeves.

Respect Your Elders

We would return to the days when kids called adults Mr. and Mrs. rather than by their first names. Kids believe they're adults before their brains are ready to make adult decisions. Some social structure that reinforces the separation between adults and kids would help reduce the illusion that a teen is already an adult. — Art Markman (Ulterior Motives)

Ahchoo Lookin' At?

I wish people would stop saying "God bless you" when you sneeze. A sneeze is not a sign you need God's blessing, and doesn't signal imminent death. On the other hand, a stranger bursting into my private reveries to act as an agent for God is quite intrusive. Under few other circumstances would an unknown person be allowed to comment on your body and its functions, let alone provide religious counsel. — Lennard Davis (Obsessively Yours)

Gimme a Please

I have had my cultural fingernails dragged down the blackboard of rudeness since arriving from England nearly three decades ago. Where I might say, "I would like... " or "Please may I have... " when asking for something in a store or restaurant, the all-too-frequent American address is "Gimme two of those... " or "I'll take three of those... " Englishness dictates that one ask for things respectfully, in a way that acknowledges the service being provided. — Brian Tompkins (View from the Dugout)

Questions of Identity

I would outlaw the question "What do you do?" It always somehow seeks to put you into an itty-bitty box. I am more than that. My story is important. "Who are you?" is the real question that life begs of us to ask and answer, so why isn't that part of our common dialogue? — Maureen Healy (Creative Development)

I Can See You're Nuts

If you meet a psychologist, don't start out with "All psychologists are nuts!" This may well be true but since I don't know them all I'm hardly in a position to comment. And don't ask, "What does it mean when someone (blank)?" Since experience tells me the "someone" is the clown asking the question and any further discourse can only lead to an evening of free therapy, I point out that all psychologists are nuts and head for the bar. — Stephen Mason (Look at It This Way)

Overcorrecting For Overpopulation?

Steven Kotler ( The Playing Field ), drew scores of comments by telling everyone to avert global catastrophe by not having children for five years. Here are two of them:

" If only Angelina & Brad had stopped at adopting and not bred themselves, there might have been a chance for a meme launch of the type you describe. " —Baka Karasu

" I propose a system where people spend consumption credits. You could have another kid or add an addition to your house. " —Christopher Ryan ( Lust in Paradise )