In the Apri, 2009 Town and Country magazine was Michael Korda’s article, “Good Manners in Bad Times.”  My grandmother, a graduate of the famous Miss Porter’s school in Farmington, CT (founded in 1886) was considered having gone to “finishing school”.  Many of my social graces were taught to me by my grandmother.  When I met the late Shah of Iran unexpectedly, my manners were perfect.

The author indicated that, in our present “period of comparative poverty and economic decline” we should develop a sensitive behavior.  You won’t find it mentioned in Emily Post, and I checked my 1959 Amy Vanderbilt’s “A Guide to Gracious Living” – not there.  The recommended read is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby.

Greed, excess, a comment like Marie-Antoinett’s when she found that the people had no bread to eat, and suggested they “eat cake” will still get you beheaded in one way or another.  Korda’s recommendations:

a) Don’t brag about your brilliant financial decisions.  b)  Don’t groan and weep in public.  c) Don’t joke about money…never forget it’s what we use to pay bills and buy groceries.  d)  Take the gloom and doom attitude elsewhere.  e) Don’t say, “How’s work?”  The person could be unemployed.  f)If you want to  talk about 401(k)s, raises or bonuses do, all by yourself in a locked room.  g)  The funny stories about smart people doing stupid things when they think the banks are failing – forget it.  h) Unless you have a great plan, don’t gather the family around for a recession talk.  i)  Remember, hardly anyone tells the truth about money now, before or after.  j)  Face reality on your own financial status.  k)  If you’ve still go it, don’t flaunt it.

It all comes down to being thoughtful of one another.