Under “Social Graces” in Town and Country’s April, 2009 issue is an article by Michael Korda titled “Good Manners in Bad Times.”  My grandmother graduated from the famous Miss Porter school founded in 1886)  in Farmington, CT, considered a “finishing school for young ladies”.  I learned social graces from her, so when I met the late Shah of Iran, I knew the proper manners.

The author indicates that, in our present “period of comparative poverty and economic decline” we should develop a sensitive behavior when things go “terribly wrong”.

You won’t find it outlined by Emily Post, and I’ve already checked my 1959 copy of Amy Vanderbilt’s “A Guide to Gracious Living”…not there. 

The recommended “read” is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby.  Greed, excess, the wrong statement at the wrong time (i.e.Marie-Antoinette’s comment on why the people of Paris looked so miserable.  Told they had no bread, she indicated they should eat cake.  Off with her head!) 

His recommendation on how to keep your head?  a) Don’t brag about your brilliant financial decisions.  b)  Don’t groan and weep in public.  c) Don’t say, “How’s work?”  They may be unemployed.  f)  Want to talk about 401(k)s, bonuses, etc.?  Do it all by yourself in a locked room.  g)  Shut up about the funny stories of people who thought the banks were closing, and did strange things.  h) Unless you have a good plan, don’t gather the family ’round for a recession talk.  i) Hardly anyone tells the truth about money now, before or after.  j) Face reality on your financial status and k) If you’ve still got it, don’t flaunt it.

It all comes down to being thoughtful of one another.