Am I the only one who has noticed that civility is disappearing faster than a pack of smokes at an AA meeting?

To try and reverse this scary trend, I am offering you at no additional cost a sample of “My Guide of Rules for A Return to Civility.”

I’m not talking about the big stuff, things like being kind to animals and loving those around you. Nobody should have to tell you that. It’s the small details of life that can be unsettling.

Let’s start with this one: While shopping at the supermarket leave your cart off to one side, not in the middle of the aisle. Nothing conveys an oblivious outlook on life like the person who parks their cart in the dead center of the aisle while wondering aimlessly, perusing the shelves selections like they’re looking at a hologram of Michelangelo’s “The Last Supper.” Studies have shown that impeding the flow of traffic in this manner is the number one cause of supermarket aisle rage and canned vegetable related deaths in America.

As long as we’re talking about the supermarket, another one on the don’t-do-list involves the clueless, lost soul who stumbles into the checkout line clearly marked 10 ITEMS OR LESS, CASH ONLY and tries to pay for two cartloads of Pop Tarts and Pudding Pops with a check from The Bank of Honduras.  

And let me add a quick tip for panhandlers: There is no shame in being down and out. “There but for the grace of God go I,” as the saying goes.

But panhandling has some basic rules and there’s a right and wrong way to do this as well. You must see it from the eyes of those from whom you are asking a donation: Don’t have a cigarette dangling from your mouth because you leave the impression that every dime of their kindness will literally be going up in smoke.

You might as well be at the intersection begging for money with a top hat, a half empty bottle of champagne in one hand and a rolled up daily racing form in your shirt pocket.

A couple more quick ones before I try to get my heart rate back to normal, I tend to get a little wound up writing about theses things. One: You must get out of the way and let people off the elevator before you can get on the elevator. Two: When you
call someone at three-fifteen in the morning and get the wrong number, don’t just say “Oh, this isn’t Vito?” Click. Say, “Please except my apologies, I’m very sorry to have bothered you.”

One final rule for my guide is more of a request, really: Everyone should fight to the death to rid our lives of daytime trash talk shows.

Where do they find the hosts, guests and audiences for these loser shows like Jerry Springer? These people shouldn’t be allowed to own a TV, for crying out loud, much less be on one. THEY MAKE ME WANT TO PACK UP SOME BEEF JERKY AND GO LIVE WITH JEREMIAH JOHNSON!!!