might one merely ask a hypothetical question:
what do these lines
… tipping back
in a world born to its station, a world across the street
in sunny Maine, where the neighbors, the Trumps,
said it was a pity the way the pecking order gets televised nowadays
in a memorial poem "The Shiga Hero" really mean?
Could the “pecking order” mean “the shouting order”
an apprenticing intern gets with a 12-step boss?
Might “gets televised” suggest how easily one may let go
of one’s good upbringing, sacrifice pleasantries
and be let go by families for one’s excessive obsession with power?
Might one take the threatening tone of “I’ll give you 5 million dollars if you…”
as serving people notice to service people?
Might even the high and mighty approach the danger zone
of becoming a caricature, a salable on a video shelf?
Such it would seem, and there are stories to tell
from the families and neighbors in the grand vacation enclaves of Maine.
Ah, indeed, it’s too late to ask, now, isn’t it, what you meant?
But one day, the paparazzi will ask said families
who then, themselves, must stoop to inquire of Ms Manners as follows:
Dear Ms Manners:
Terribly sorry to bother you when I know you must have so many less fortunate people trying to make do in our part-time service economy; however hard it must be for them to maintain a sense of dignity, I yet remain indeed inclined, I must say, and, still, terribly afraid, that I must bother you with my dire dilemma. It is a dilemma that has fallen on my shoulders and become the albatross of my waking hours. You see, my cousin, who I won’t mention by name, thinks he is better than others and can, so to speak, treat others with unkindnesses. It has been our way to at least pretend we are all equal, as people are all people (some in our circle would even include whales and porpoises, not to mention endangered breeds of pelicans and midget owls in upper Maine). So I write in earnest to beg your kind advice and ask this question: should I grant an interview with reporters that might save our family’s good name after being violated by such spiteful and insulting public spectacles, all in the name of placing the blind pursuit of profit before our innate caring spirit, and, dare I say, life itself? Or, should I mind my own business and hope that I haven’t shorn myself from my wealthy cousin’s will? Mind you, he is not much older than me, but dare I say the years have not treated him well. Thank you kindly for your sagacious wisdom.
Shocked and Awed in Kennebunkport
Dear Shocked and Awed in Kennebunkport,
Gentle Reader, Ms Manners appreciates the delicate nature of your dilemma. Every family has its wayward black sheep. It would seem an epidemic of such unwanted circumstances enters the menu of family discussions as so many of us find ourselves relying on the kindness of strangers, and family, in our worst slump since the 1930s.
Yet, I ask, does it not really come down to two old adages? First, “He who has suffer'd you to impose on him knows you.” Consider tolerating the antics of your cousin as an exercise in self-growth; you learn about not only your cousin, but life’s extremes. The more the world is debased, the more we all learn. The other proverb which comes to mind is “Always be ready to speak your mind, and a base man will avoid you.” By that Ms Manners wonders why you would shy away from your ethical calling.