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Posted on Wednesday, January 31, 2024 at 8:05 am

My Take

By Mark McGee

Henry David Thoreau said “a man can suffocate on courtesy”

I disagree with the American naturalist and essayist known for “Walden” and “Civil Disobedience”. I view courtesy as one of the cornerstones of civilization.

As I age I have had to get used to several changes in my life.

One I really have trouble with is people opening doors for me. I appreciate the courtesy, and the respect, but it just another reminder that I look older and people think I might need help.

It happens to me very often now. I have always been an avid practitioner of opening doors for others. I probably just need to look at it as people returning a favor rather than a commentary on my age.

My mother has been extended many courtesies as a result of her health issues which make it difficult for her at times to move around easily.

In this day and time it is nice to see a little courtesy extended. It has become a rare commodity.

The other day I was in line at a local store. I had one item. The woman in front of me had a shopping cart filled to the brim. Instead of asking me if I would like to step in front of her in line, she simply started unloading her cart.

Any time you drive a vehicle on the roads you are met with all types of discourtesy – tailgating, passing on the wrong side of the road, no lights as darkness falls, speeding and no turn signals.

One particular pet peeve for me is to smile and say hello to someone and receive only a pained expression in return. How tough is it to say hello and smile?

Littering is a problem throughout Shelbyville and Bedford County. There are plenty of options available for dumping your trash other than scattering the remains of your fast food meal or an empty beer can on a neighborhood street or dumping large amounts of trash on someone’s rural property.

Always say thank you to someone who has helped you in some way. Trust me when I tell you the failure to do so will haunt you forever.

I read the other day where a woman on an emergency aisle on an airplane refused to allow a pregnant woman to switch seats so she could have more room.

Another person refused to move from her seat in order to allow a family to sit together on a flight. She spoke of her response on social media and received mostly support for her selfish actions.


We are in an age of narcissism where it is all about “me”, “me”, and “me”. We need to consider others instead.