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I’d like to propose a saying for our current times: “Rudeness walks with the devil.”

It seems we experience rudeness a hundred times a day and often may be guilty of it ourselves. Something happens to many people when they get behind the wheel of their vehicle. Both men and women often take on an aggressive, angry persona leaving common courtesy curbside. Nearly everyone is in a hurry, so there’s little politeness as drivers tailgate, switch lanes, cut in front of others, race to the next traffic light and fail to signal their intentions to turn or stop.

We’re not much better on foot as we push ahead of people lined up at a checkout counter or shove our way through a crowd to gain access to an event. We don’t greet one another or even look at each other as we wait in a doctor’s office, for example, ride together in an elevator, on a bus or in an airplane. Many of us seem to be caught up in our own thoughts, absorbed in listening to music on a headset or talking on or “playing with” a cell phone or tablet.

Speaking of the phone, it seems to be the epitome of rudeness for many people. You’re talking with someone on the phone when you hear them say the familiar phrase, “Hold on, I’ve got another call.” Even when you’re speaking in person with someone or engaged in a common interest, how often does it happen when their phone rings and they say, “I’ve got to take this?”

Recently, I heard that a major university was requiring their seniors to take a manners course because the highly-regarded academic institution did not want to be embarrassed when their graduates went out into the world not knowing how to practice common courtesies.

Somewhere, somehow we’ve lost not only the skills but the desire to have respect for and consideration of others. As a society, we lack the graces and refinements of civilized life and border on being uncouth. Many Americans dress like slobs and often behave the way they look.

The world’s low opinion of the United States is based in part on individual encounters with some “ugly Americans.”

Affected by another’s rudeness, we must learn to be patient, not quick-tempered; not brood over injuries. We all must strive to be kind, polite and not just seek our own interests. If we do all within our power to always, literally, put the other person ahead of ourselves, rudeness and hurt will disappear leaving the devil to walk alone!

Vince LaBarbera
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Vince LaBarbera

Vince is a Fort Wayne native. He earned a master of science degree in journalism and advertising from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. LaBarbera is retired but continues to enjoy freelance writing and serving the Radio Reading Service of the Allen County Public Library. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer