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Friday, June 22, 2012

George Washington’s Rules: Show Nothing

16th March 2012
Dear Cassi,

Today I commit to memory George Washington’s third rule of civil and decent behavior: “Show Nothing to your Friend that may affright him.” This is simple but experts have taken it to mean “embarrassing people is inconsiderate.” The direct meaning is as good a rule as the indirect.
If I had something like a rattle snake that I had milked of its venom I doubt it would be polite to show the reptile to the unwarned. This would “affright” them and be an embarrassment. Likewise, when I was a young man folks would walk around with dirty pictures and show them to the young boys to get a rise out of them. This too is rude.
Take it as note that showing folks things they have no wish to see or telling the things that well upset them in casual conversation is uncivil. It would be something else if a point was being made but rude for the sake of reaction.

Stay safe, little sister

Richard Leland Neal