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Etiquette And The Most Wanted
by Rose DeShaw

The tendency among America’s Most Wanted to flee directly to Canada has not gone unnoticed by law enforcement on both sides of the border though initial attempts have proven unsuccessful in stemming the tide.

Consequently, among media aware denizens of run-down boarding houses throughout the nation, the increasingly common discovery of fellow-tenant-as-notorious-felon has caused serious re-examination of the most basic premises of modern etiquette.

Here’s the scene: One is sitting around the common room watching television when it becomes apparent that the 6 foot 5 axe murderer whose particulars are lighting up the screen, bears a striking resemblance to the taciturn body-builder hunkered down at the other end of the sofa. The two of you happen to be alone.

In such circumstances, bellowing, ‘HEY, THAT GUY SURE LOOKS LIKE YOU!” is unwise.

Gibbering, ‘Beer Break!’ while leaping up and attempting to sidle off to the kitchen with your cell phone may make the object of one’s concern uneasy, especially if milk is the only drink in the communal refrigerator.

Still, continuing to sit side by side watching the show, which by then may be detailing the mutilations of 7 or 8 innocent bystanders that annoyed this particular fugitive in the past, may not be an option. Remember, true etiquette is simply the art of making others feel comfortable.

The decisiveness on the part of your television viewing companion manifested by putting his size 14 boot through the screen may indicate that your new acquaintance is not truly at his ease.

What would be the proper procedure to follow for you as a sensitive and all ‘round politically correct individual in such an ordinary, everyday situation?

1) Determine the source of his discomfort. Perhaps his sensitive personality deplores televised depictions of violence or badly-reenacted docudramas?
2) Empathize, enumerating your commonalities. True, you are a bifurcated 5’4” subscriber to Mother Jones, struggling to gain weight but between you is recognition of the uniqueness of the male condition.
3) Give him a hug, expressing your complete acceptance of his as yet unarticulated anxiety.
4) Then allow him time on his own to reflect, explaining that there are many calls on one’s time and you (and your cell phone) must be on your way. You will be amazed at how his understanding has grown during this all too brief encounter.
5) If he has bought any of this, exit gracefully with promises to lunch. Once on the street, of course, run like blazes while punching in 911 and screaming for help!