Whatever happened to "class"?
Can someone please advise me if I’m the only sane person left on this planet? Or, ok, let’s be a bit more modest. Am I the only one that still feels…this way? Sometimes I look around at the world and it’s inhabitants and I just can’t fathom how we let societal mores degrade to such a level. Where children are rude, selfish, and unthinking and we chalk it all up to "boys being boys" or "the foibles of youth". My mother remarked recently that the nature of all children was to be selfish and it was up to the parents and the rest of society to teach them otherwise. What happens if their parents and society doesn’t teach them better? Doesn’t know better themselves? Her answer? "Then they, and US, are screwed."
How is it that this cutthroat world of "dog eat dog" and "me against the world" has become acceptable? Have you ever seen the remake of the move, Chicago? The one with Richard Gere, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Renee Zellweger? There’s this song in it, sung by Queen Latifah and Catherine Zeta-Jones called, "Class." In the song the two of them are wondering what ever happened to "class": Whatever happened to ‘please, thank you’? And ‘yes, may I’? Why is it everyone now…is a pain in the ASS? What ever happened to class?
Last Friday, an attorney called our office and informed us that he was filing a bankruptcy petition on behalf of his client. A hearing was being held on Monday that would have completely wrapped up the foreclosure and, short of a BK petition, there was NO WAY this guy’s house was going to be sparred. Bankruptcy filings are last ditch efforts for those at the end of their figurative lives. When I spoke to the attorney I quoted our firms policy that we do NOT cancel hearings without firm evidence of a bankruptcy filing (a case number, a copy of the petition, etc.). He stated he would send one over via fax. I never got anything. I was glad because canceling Monday hearings the Friday before are pains in the ass. I came in on Monday and there were two emails in my box. One from the attorney that I had spoken to and the other from a paralegal in our office. They both said the same thing, "I have filed a bankruptcy petition for my client on 8/11/06 at 7:37 p.m. Please cancel Monday’s 8:45 hearing." The email conspicuously did NOT have a case number to reference the filing by. I pulled up the electronic bankruptcy filing database to look up any recent filings for this debtor, using his last name. Nothing. No filings in the last ten years. I took the matter to my supervisor. With less then twenty minutes until the hearing, we had to make the quick decision of whether to cancel the hearing based on this attorney’s word or wait and see. The electronic bankruptcy database was notorious for not having up to date information on after-hours filings and it was possible that the attorney’s statement that he had filed that past Friday at around 7:30 was true. After all, he was an attorney and attorneys in my line of work are sort of sacrosanct. He wouldn’t lie about something like that knowing that my office could do a swift Internet search to verify the validity of his claim. He wouldn’t lie to another attorney’s office. Isn’t there something like "honor among thieves’? We made the decision to cancel the hearing. I sent an email to the attorney advising that I could not reference the filing and that I would need a case number. He never responded. I sent another email on Tuesday. Still nothing, nada, zilch. Bright and early on Wednesday I come in and what do I find? An automatic bankruptcy filing notification that the electronic database sends whenever our office is listed as a creditor in a debtor’s bankruptcy petition. The filing date? August 15, 2006, Tuesday. Not August 11, 2006, Friday but August 15th…TUESDAY. That, that….snake in the grass attorney (and believe me I could think of some better names to call him but this is a public entry and I won’t defame so grievously) KNEW that if he filed after hours it would be a while before it would show up on the bankruptcy website and KNEW that our office would either have to take the risk of holding a hearing with the doubt of a bankruptcy filing that invalidates our hearing or cancel the hearing on his word. He was betting that we wouldn’t want to swim in the deep and often murky waters of going against the automatic bankruptcy stay and counting on us canceling that hearing on just his word, as an attorney, alone.
Of course I don’t know for certain that that was exactly what he was thinking but why make such a grievous claim and be lying outright? Our foreclosure would have been completely wrapped up if we had gone ahead with Monday’s hearing and the debtor wouldn’t have had a leg to stand on. Obviously that unscrupulous attorney couldn’t get his client in to do the necessary paperwork to file the claim on Friday or for whatever reason he knew that he wouldn’t be able to actually file the claim in a timely manner. So he took a risk, rolled the dice, spun the wheel on the revolver and pulled the trigger. And his gambit paid off. Whatever happened to class? Not to mention legal ethics??? Now our office has to explain to our client why it is that we cancelled the hearing on just a supposition. We have to explain that we have class while other attorneys…well they just don’t.
Why is it that when you’re driving down the street you will often times see a pedestrian crossing the street in the middle of the street (not at an approved crosswalk) give a passing motorist a dirty look because they were almost hit by a car? Why is it that that same pedestrian couldn’t have walked ten feet to the crosswalk instead of risking his life and the possibility of a traffic incursion just to save perhaps two minutes and twenty feet? Whatever happened to common sense?
Why is it that pedestrians at an approved crosswalk sometimes have to dodge out of the way of oncoming traffic that refuse to wait while the pedestrians (who have the right of way and not to mention the traffic lights on their side) cross the street? Why is it that sometimes those same motorists, who are themselves in the wrong, will honk in irritation at the pedestrians who are so presumptuous as to cross while they are trying to drive? Whatever happened to patience and accountability?
Why is it that when I do my laundry in our public laundry room facilities, I listen attentively and immediately remove my clothes from washer and dryer to be sure that both appliances are ready for future use while my neighbors will leave their clothes in either (and sometimes both) appliances for hours after it has stopped. On top of that, they will curse vehemently and give you dirty looks if you proceed to remove their clothes so that you can get your own laundry down, seemingly not realizing that their clothes have been in the washing machine for three hours and are now so stiff and dry that they need to be rewashed? What ever happened to sensibility?
Why is it that some people have this feeling that they just HAVE to get a gift on whatever holiday it is? Why is it that birthdays have become this event whereby you shower the "celebrity" with gifts for no good reason instead of celebrating the day in which they were born? Why is it that we feel obligated to buy a person a gift? Let me tell you that I buy gifts for people that I like, that I feel privileged to have gotten to know. And when I buy a gift, I agonize for hours over what I will get them, hoping to put my heart, soul, and appreciation into that gift. Why is it that others buy the first thing that pops in their mind? Oh, Lily likes cat figurines! Let’s buy her another cat figurine to stand on the mantelpiece along with the FIFTY OTHER CAT FIGURINES that she already has! Joe’s a coffee drinker, let’s buy him another pound of Peruvian French Roast to match the Guatemalan Caribbean Roast that we got him for Christmas! And, to spice things up, let’s throw in a coffee mug! We haven’t given him a coffee mug since…Easter I think. Never thinking that Joe has so many mugs that he will never get around to using them all and so much coffee that he can open his own coffeehouse on the side. Whatever happened to looking deep within someone to find the passions that are not readily visible? Whatever happened to recognizing that people are more then just cat-loving, coffee-drinking monologues? Whatever happened to pride?
Whatever happened to teaching your children that it’s not WHAT you get but that fact that you GOT IT at all? How is it that we’ve allowed children to become so self-sufficient and independent that it’s now OK to just shout out, right in front of a well-meaning gift-giver that they ‘Hate the sweater that Aunt Marge gave them and will never, EVER, wear it’? All right in front of dear Aunt Marge and the Winnie the Pooh cake that she so painstakingly prepared for him? And our answer to dear Junior’s outburst? "We told him to always be honest." Ok, there’s honesty and there’s mean-spirited interjections. No one actually asked for Junior’s opinion so his "honest" outburst was not called for and therefore mean-spirited. Perhaps along with your tutelage on honesty you can also teach Junior the meaning of "prudence". "Oh but he’s only 8! They DO that kind of stuff at that age. He’ll grow out of it." Not if you don’t teach him, he won’t. How is he supposed to grow out of an undesirable behavior if it’s never pointed out that it’s undesirable? Whatever happened to parenting?
And while we’re at it…why is it that parent’s have been reduced to little more the chef’s for their children? Why is it that parent’s find themselves catering more to little Junior’s wants rather then his needs? When I was growing up my mother cooked ONE meal. There was a meat offering, a starch offering, and a veggie. What? You don’t like lima beans? Well you will eat them because they are good for you and because you may decide that you like them after you’ve tried them. Now a days you’re more likely to hear, "Waaa, I don’t like lima beans!" "Ok Junior, let Mommy get you a nice cup of applesauce to replace it. And while I’m at it, let’s make you chicken nuggets instead of the pot roast. Better yet, why don’t I sit down with you, say next Tuesday, and go over the weeks meals so that we can come up with a menu that suits your palette." Whatever happened to…well…whatever it was that made my mom stand firm and make me eat those damn lima beans?!? And you want to know another thing? I don’t hate lima beans! I don’t absolutely love them, but I will eat them if they are presented. Dutifully and like a good girl.
Sigh…perhaps I’m just old. Perhaps I now see what my grandmother says when she asks why don’t I walk to Walgreen’s instead of driving the car. "What!?! Walk three miles? Are you out of your bleeding mind?" "Oh, it’s not that far! We used to walk all the time when we were growing up." "Yea, because it took so long to harness the horse!" Or perhaps there’s a commune out there for people like me. People who CARE about other people. People who DO THINGS for other people. People who follow societal rules and have values. Do you know where that place is? How do I get there?