Tag Archives: Manners

How to write a thank you note for graduation gifts

One of the most useful tips for writing thank you notes is also the most welcome: Keep it short.

No need to write a letter, address the weather or express interest in your recipient’s life if you don’t care to — just say thanks. Being specific is great, but better to mention the gift and thank your benefactor for the thought behind it.

It’s the time of year for graduation gifts, and I’m the nag behind my Adored stepson’s thank-you notes (or perhaps, lack thereof — time will tell). If you’re among his generation trolling the internet looking for a gratitude template for graduation cash, try this:

Dear [name — a person’s name is music to one’s ears],

You were so thoughtful and kind to remember me on my graduation. Thanks for the cash. I promise I will spend it well, perhaps on [be specific — “pizzas at school next fall,” “fixing up my car,” “clothes for college”]. I appreciate it and you.


[your name]


3 tips for toilet etiquette

Having spent 11 hours and more than 500 miles in a car today, I had the opportunity to see and, oftentimes, use a wide variety of porta-potties, wayside restrooms, fast food ladies’ rooms and Burp ‘N Slurp commodes.

The state of toilet etiquette in these joints along Interstate 90 is deplorable, and I suspect the same may be said for powder rooms across America. (Side note: Nothing in the Midwest is as scary as the public bathroom I encountered once in Tokyo: It was a concrete trench in the ground. That’s it. No stall. No seat. No paper. A hole. For a woman with an inseam of 36-inches, squatting down that far is feat by itself. Impossible with pants one leg on and one leg off. And for God’s sake, keep the panties out-of-the-way, too! Oh, the horror! Never again.)

If we all were to follow these three simple — and dare I suggest, basic — tips for toilet etiquette, our next visit to the public restroom might be a bit less nightmarish. Let’s give it the old college try, shall we?

  1. Aim. Yes, I realize this could be a rant all by itself, but really, how difficult is it to actually get the pee in the bowl? It’s a rather large target, relatively, don’t you think? And the equipment you’re using isn’t as powerful as you might like to boast. I should think you could control it a little bit better than the gentleman (no, I doubt it) who used the porta-potty at the football field this morning before I got there. Pee all over the seat? Really? It was 11 a.m.? Did you indulge in a few too many Bloody Marys at that time of the morning already? Disgusting.
  2. Flush. This issue is moot in a porta-potty, but in a proper toilet, really, is it that difficult to press the lever? An extra second, if necessary? That is one reason soap, water and towels are provided, you know: To wash one’s hands after using the can. To get the ick off. If actually pulling the flusher is that repulsive to you, learn how to use your foot. Leaving a stew of black scum and soggy toilet paper stagnating in the bowl is not acceptable. No excuses.
  3. Alert. If aiming is a problem exhibited by males, then it’s females who need to speak up when you use the last of the toilet paper in the bathroom! Seriously, the gas station attendant will never see you again. It strikes shame at your immortal core to mention as you walk by, “Hey, the ladies’ loo could use some more toilet paper, sweetheart”?
I am off to the shower. To scrub the vestiges of dirty privys from my memory. And other skin surfaces.