Seniors lament youths’ poor grammar, lack of courtesy

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What follows are the gripes of three of my friends, based on my most recent column of my own gripes.

Henry was born in Philadelphia and lives in Tarrytown, N.Y.:

“I do grumble a lot, as you do, too, about the state of our society, from kids and young adults who tweet but cannot spell anymore through the whole gamut of Mammon worshipers who require a holocaust of sacrifice of victims in order to enhance their profits to the total abandonment by a significant portion of the population of the old American sense of fairness.”

There is a “raft of awful things happening in our country and its people that I can and do grumble about.”


Peter was born in Glens Falls, N.Y., and lives there and in Loudonville, N.Y.: “My latest trip to San Diego was much the same as all others in the past few years .... As usual, a number of passengers marched on with two large pieces of luggage and a shoulder bag. So much for the ‘only one carry-on bag rule.’”

When it came time for him to board, “you guessed it: no room in the bins for my small carry-on briefcase. Air travel is not much fun anymore. And airline personnel do not do much to help.”

“When did a soft, pleasant, professional tone of voice go out of fashion in our hospitals? When the physician comes in for the daily examination, the curtain is pulled and a soft, comforting exchange takes place, predominantly about the patient’s condition that day.

“But what happens in the hospital corridors? Visitors and, sad to say, some staff members shout as if Derek Jeter’s home run just clinched the World Series for the Yankees. Ah, for the peace and quiet of a library reading room. Well, some of them anyway.”

“And whose idea was it that secretaries, bank tellers — well, anyone — address strangers by their first names? I am in my 80s and to be called by my first name by a clerk, gas station attendant ... who is about 20 years old bristles me. I do not call strangers by their first names because I do not know them. I expect the same courtesy.”


Nancy was born in Virginia and lives in Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn. She does find much courtesy, such as people giving up seats on the subway and holding doors.

“My biggest gripe is people who don’t walk on the right side of the sidewalks. They walk anywhere they please and, even worse, wander from side to side. They are not tourists!”

“Another ... grumble ... is out-of-control bikers .... Riding through red lights, riding the wrong way on a one-way street, riding on the sidewalk and so on is ubiquitous.”

Nancy joins me in deploring “the lack of proper grammar and syntax even in the august New York Times. The wrong use of ‘whomever’ drives me crazy!” And the Times cannot make up its mind about “data” and “datum.”

“In fact, it ignores the latter and makes the former sometimes a singular word, which it is not, or a plural word, which it is. Go figure.

“I don’t think there is much more, except I am more and more persuaded that adult bikes should be licensed. There is a California law allowing communities to do this and several communities have moved forward on this.”

Next: The fourth friend talks about his gripes.

Posted 1:35 am, January 26, 2012
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