Monday, July 23, 2012

George Washinton's Fifth Rule of Civility

31st March 2012
Dear Cassi,

Today I commit to memory George Washington’s fifth rule of civility and decent behavior: “If You Cough, Sneeze, Sigh, or Yawn, do it not Loud but Privately; and Speak not in your Yawning, but put Your handkerchief or Hand before your face and turn aside.” Again this is a rule that can be taken at face value but still a rule I have broken more than a few times. Mostly in yawning.
In Washington’s time dental hygiene was less advanced and so a man’s breath was rather foul. Now days it is rude to breathe on folks because we know it spreads disease. Washington himself had one tooth left in his head and was known for short speeches as result.
I can’t imagine what his breath must have been like, but I know I would never want a person with so rotted a mouth breathing on me. I imagine that now we can add to this rule “keep your mouth clean. Brush your teeth before leaving the house, and at very least chew gum after eating.”

Stay away from stinkers, little sister

Richard Leland Neal