Etiquetteer has recently had many opportunities to reflect on how unspoken action makes a difference in daily life. The unprompted fulfilling of a task smoothes the path of daily life for family, friends, colleagues, and strangers. Leaving a task unfulfilled has a negative impact. It’s not good etiquette. For instance, not replacing the toilet paper.
Etiquetteer was recently handed an artifact of his Dear Mother, an index card with a special message on it that had been left at the back of a toilet paper holder. It reads “It’s only THOUGHTFUL and KIND and UNDERSTANDING and UNSELFISH and CONSIDERATE to take time to replace the used up roll of toilet paper. Wouldn’t YOU like to have paper on the roll at the time of need?” The writing and posting of such a message could be considered an Extreme Act by Dear Mother. Her style was generally much less angry and passive-aggressive. She would prefer to speak directly with the offender, especially if the offender was under the age of 18.
The creation of that little card, Etiquetteer recalls, came when Dear Mother had been left without “paper on the roll at the time of need” by neglectiful or unthinking children - and she didn’t intend for it to happen again. But Dear Mother was always inclined to forgiveness, especially for those in their nonage, after giving a lesson on why it was important to think about others.
Making sure there’s plenty of toilet paper on hand is only the most urgent of ways to make things easier. The people who make the coffee for the whole household, or start washing the dishes unbidden, or clean out the workplace refrigerator, or refill the printers and/or copiers with paper - these thoughtful people are the ones who deserve more than our thanks (if we can figure out who they are). They deserve our emulation. Consider how unsolicited thoughtfulness impacts your life, and tell Etiquetteer what makes a difference.