An Update on Etiquetteer, Vol. 7, Issue 20

Note: This is really more a blog entry than a column, but something must be said after this period of infrequent columns.   What, regular readers may have been asking, has happened to Etiquetteer? And where has Etiquetteer been, that weekly columns have not been posted with much, if any, regularity this year?   Frankly and candidly, Anno Domini 2008 has not been kind to Etiquetteer.  In spring, the Times of Southwest Louisiana cut Etiquetteer's monthly appearance in its pages as part of a much larger editorial reorganization. Etiquetteer does at least have to give the new staff kudos for communicating with Perfect Propriety as well as Perfect Promptness during a transition which could not have been easy for them.   In addition, the New England Blade cut Etiquetteer back from weekly to monthly publication and finally suspended its print operations altogether. For an organization in the communications business, their leaders find it impossible to keep their freelancers aware of changes at the paper. Indeed, Etiquetteer has yet to hear about the print suspension from anyone on the staff there!    Crippling as these blows were, they also sapped away Etiquetteer's weekly routine of filling a deadline. It takes 21 days to form a habit, they say, and only three to break it (or something like that, unless it's smoking).   Then something happened that made me wonder whether or not I have any business telling anyone how to behave. We have all met Mean Old People Who Will Only Be Happy In Death (And Maybe Not Even Then). Unfortunately one such lives near me; and at a neighborhood business meeting I totally lashed out at her in the presence of others, concluding "You are not going to be happy with anything!" Now you may be sure that I was not raised to make scenes in public, and that I was raised to respect my elders. But frankly, that's all this Mean Old Person was giving me to work with: longevity.  And it wasn't enough to keep me from making no better than that Mean Old Person.   So this has been a period of questioning for me, interrupted by a two-week vacation in Paris, France, where saying "Je regrette, je parle jusqu'un petit peu de français" paves the way for more understanding, or at least tolerance, from Parisians.  Negotiating a foreign capital with one handful of phrases and another of words was an interesting experience, and Etiquetteer Himself may have something to say about it at some point.   Whither Etiquetteer now? Having taken an unofficial sabbatical over the last several weeks, I'm going to take an official sabbatical now until the New Year. I may interrupt to post a column on Christmas in an Economic Downturn and Etiquetteer's Year in Review, but I may not. By January I should have sorted out what the next steps are for Etiquetteer.   I remain very grateful to all my readers, family, and friends for their support of and engagement in Etiquetteer's journey. It seems impossible to believe that the New Year will be Etiquetteer's sixth anniversary! My gratitude especially goes out to those I think of as "Team Etiquetteer:" Zane Kuchera, who designed this wonderful new Web site this year; Craig Hughes of Grailtech for technical support; Michael Willhoite for his delightful illustrations; Etiquetteer's Sweet Mother, JoAnn Dimmick, the best proofreader a boy who grew up reading Emily Post could ever have; Ann Rice, the eminence grise behind Etiquetteer; and Jim Lopata, who has opened doors for Etiquetteer in many ways.    So please continue your preparations for a Perfectly Proper Thanksgiving and Beyond! I look forward to hearing from you at query _at_ sometime.