Familiarity

Close friends are not unlike diamonds; they are rare and precious and should be treated accordingly.
Only after you have cemented that close bond called friendship, are you entitled to some degree of familiarity with kindred spirits, but absolutely never before!
I am against the forced intimacy that some individuals are trying to foist upon others. Calling a waitress “honey” or “sweetheart” at the first encounter is absolutely distasteful. It is patronizing and demeaning; if I were the waitress, I would certainly have a few chosen words with those behaving that way.

Instant intimacy! This is definitely one of my “bêtes noires”.
Generally speaking I am not fond of anything instantaneous.
I do not like to be called by my first name by somebody I just met. My last name is a different story; it’s my outer shell and everybody can have a whack at it.

A long time ago a Highway Patrolman stopped me for some trivial matter. He demanded to see my driver’s license and then proceeded to write me a ticket. Once he was done he said “Goodbye Alain. Please be more careful.”
Goodbye Alain? Whatever happened to “Sir” or “Mister”? Did we become instant buddies because I let him peek at my driver’s license?
Nobody should have the right to call me by my first name unless I say so.

And that’s why I prefer by far romance languages over English.  In French (Spanish and Italian) for instance, you have two ways of addressing people: the formal way (vous) for strangers, and the familiar way (tu) for friends, lovers and relatives.
Nobody with a bit of “savoir-vivre” would be gauche enough to use “tutoiement” with a total stranger. It would be considered extremely rude and offensive.

Not so in American society where everybody professes to be your pal.
Call me old fashioned, but I prefer a slow progression toward intimacy rather than the “instant familiarity” favored by Americans. I’d rather spend ten years building up and nurturing a true friendship rather than rushing into an artificial comradeship based on beer, pretzels and television commercials.

Call me quaint but I am not your friend until our friendship have been tested and validated.
Then, and only then, are you allowed to call me by my first name and use the familiar way exclusively reserved for friends or lovers.
Not being your friend by the way, doesn’t preclude me from being friendly, but I am not your friend until we have shared some common joys and sorrows together.

I am not everybody’s friend, nor do I want to be.

Let me have five close mates and I’ll gladly let you keep all the rest of your Facebook-style “friends”.

Alain

Hi Alain: (may I call you Alain?) It was not always this way in the US.. when I was young (40s and 50s) everyone called other persons by their last names, as in my mother “Mrs Gilman”, me..”Mrs. Toulon”, and all children were taught to say this always, and if they didn’t know the last name, they had to say “Sir” or “M’aam”.. I remember that somewhere near the early 70s it changed, and I was upset when a nurse in the hospital called me “Jan”.. my children’s friends still call me Mrs.Toulon ! I love it in France when I can say “Monsieur” or Madame, or “Mademoiselle” without the last name, as I can never remember everyone’s names!
I miss the formality too….
Jan Toulon 

 

Le Père Noël

J’ai écrit le texte ci-dessous au mois de mai 2011. Noël approchant  j’ai relu cette histoire, et vu la situation au Moyen-Orient, mon opinion n’a pas changé d’un iota. C’est pourquoi je publie à nouveau cet éditorial aujourd’hui.

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Quand j’étais très jeune, j’ai évidemment cru au Père Noël.
Pourquoi évidemment?
Ben, parce que comme tous les enfants de mon âge, j’ai été conditionné et endoctriné. A force de m’entendre répéter que si j’étais un bon petit garçon, Papa Noël viendrait et m’apporterait de jolis cadeaux, j’y ai cru !
C’est normal, non ?

Mais un peu plus tard, quand j’ai été plus a même de réfléchir et de penser pour moi-même, j’ai commencé à avoir des doutes.
Le Père Noël, ce brave homme, il est bien gentil, mais donner des cadeaux a tous les gosses du monde… et en une seule nuit, c’est quand même assez difficile.
Et puis son traineau, il est quand même un peu petit… Et s’introduire dans toutes ces cheminées (malgré sa bedaine) sans se salir … Et se souvenir de tous ces noms et de toutes ces adresses…

Un jour donc, j’en suis venu à la conclusion que tout cela ne tenait pas debout, et j’ai cessé de croire au Père Noël.
J’ai cessé de croire parce que je me suis permis d’analyser la situation et de tirer mes propres conclusions. Je suis heureusement Cartésien, et si les chiffres ne s’additionnent pas proprement, je n’y crois pas.
A en juger la situation dans le monde, Il n’y a malheureusement que très peu d’esprits cartésiens sur notre planète… et c’est la cause de tous nos malheurs.

Il y a encore beaucoup de gens qui, malgré leur âge avancé, croient encore au Père Noël.
Les Musulmans, les Juifs, les Chrétiens, les Hindous… ils croient tous au Père Noël!
Et malgré des preuves irréfutables qu’on les a bernés, ils s’accrochent désespérément  à des croyances moyenâgeuses et sont prêts à s’entretuer à la moindre provocation.

Pourquoi ? Parce qu’ils ont été endoctrinés a un très jeune âge, et parce que les soi-disant défenseurs de la foi, jaloux de leurs prérogatives, leur ont expressément interdit de questionner des niaiseries démodées.
Jésus, Mahomet, Moïse, les prophètes… balivernes ! Rien que balivernes !

Croire a des contes de fées, c’est une chose, mais égorger (au nom de leur dieu miséricordieux) tous ceux qui n’y croient pas, c’est autre chose.
Et c’est ce que font tous ces « croyants » sur tous les continents de notre pauvre planète !
Horreur, horreur, horreur !

Quand a moi, je suis solidement républicain et anti-calotin, et si plus de gens analysaient un peu plus froidement ce que l’on leur débite dans les églises, les synagogues, les mosquées, croyez moi, nos vaches seraient beaucoup mieux gardées !

Alain

 

Hype

Help! I am drowning in hype.
I don’t know if you realize it, but today we are drowning in “hype” and like the sea its level and toxicity is rising every year.
Hype I should remind you, is the extravagant promotion of mediocre people, products or events that are supposed to be life altering.

Visual and audio pollution is already extremely annoying, but hype is advertising’s super bug. It is exceedingly virulent and so far the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) have not come up with any effective vaccine against it.
As a temporary fix, it recommends the wearing of earplugs and gas masks, but there is no guarantee.

Not so long, it was the elections. If Obama (that Negro Muslim not born in America) were elected, we would turn into a Socialist hellhole like Cuba. We would have no choice but pack the car, grab the kids and run for Canada!

With elections thankfully behind us, we now have to cope with Thanksgiving and (ta-tah) BLACK FRIDAY. Hype is trumpeting that it will be smart to spend the night camping outside the store to save a few bucks.

Then Christmas (buy, buy, buy) and (drum roll) the FISCAL CLIFF.
If the Republicans and the Democrats don’t agree on fiscal reforms, America will certainly fall off the surface of the earth.
Then as an after-Christmas bonus, we have the SUPER BOWL (canon salvo). If you don’t buy tickets, you are un-American and deserve to die.

Before that contemporary baloney, we had YK, Year 1000 (Final Judgment Day). Since the end of the world is coming, give all your stuff to the Church to secure a spot in Paradise, or be ready to suffer the torments of HELL.

What about Y2K? Remember that one? In 2000, computers were supposed to go berserk and create panic throughout the civilized world.

Let’s not forget the unrelenting promotion of that insufferable Bieber kid (the new Golden Calf), and the semi-literate bimbo “Spooky Snooki”.

To paraphrase Groucho Marx, I am sending the following Tweet to Hype:
“Please accept my resignation. I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept people like those as members”.

But hype seldom delivers what it promises. So, starting from now, disregard most of what you hear on radio and television, and to buck the commercial trend, indulge in complimentary, random acts of kindness.

Alain