Dear Miss Manners: When accepting an appointment as the chairman of the nominating committee, should the chairman of this group nominate herself to the office of president? Should not the person refuse to serve on the nominating committee if anxious to become the president?
Of course, nominations may be made from the floor, but in small social organizations, it is difficult. Members are often afraid it will cause rifts in the organization if nominations are not accepted from the nominating committee. I am amazed to find more nominating committees nominating themselves for leadership rolls. This situation has become rather ridiculous.
Gentle Reader: Wonder where they got the idea?
But Miss Manners cannot attribute it to any one public example. It's all part of the general feeling that there is something refreshing about blatant self-interest. What a curious idea that is, considering that condoning it requires society to go against its own self-interest.
Admiration for this selfish aggression seems to be based on the erroneous idea that the only alternative to it is self-abnegation. Yet for those who consider co-operation out of the question, and taking one's chances on achieving recognition to be positively laughable, the alternative to blatant self-interest is subtle self-interest.
In this case, subtle self-interest would consist of saying, "Oh, I'm afraid I can't serve on the nominating committee because I understand I might be drafted to be president myself." In one sentence, this establishes the speaker as ethical, judicious, modest and already the leading candidate for the office.
What is old is new
Dear Miss Manners: Over the years, I have kept in communication with my granddaughter, who lives about 1,000 miles from me, primarily on her birthday and at Christmas, and she has done the same with me. Two years ago, she visited me, and I met her young man for the first time, and we got along fine.
I was, of course, invited to their wedding, and intended to go, but had to cancel shortly before because of health problems. A few weeks before, I mailed them wedding presents, which included a crystal set, and to each of them a check for $500. At about the same time, I sent the prospective groom four or five dozen golf balls and several golf gadgets that I no longer had use for.
Shortly after the wedding, I received a thank-you card from my granddaughter, but not a word from her husband. I admit to being old-fashioned and confused by the values that are important to people in their age group. Am I correct in feeling hurt by not receiving a personal note of thanks from my grandson-in-law, or have what I consider common courtesies changed that much?
Gentle Reader: They are not being eliminated, but they are changing; your granddaughter and her husband are not keeping up. They are going by the old-fashioned custom of the wife doing all the social correspondence for both, while you are expecting the modern modification of each doing his or her own.
True, your granddaughter forgot to mention the golf equipment when she thanked you for everything else. But Miss Manners would prefer to assume that she forgot about the extra package in her gratitude over your wedding presents, and that when she told her husband she had written you, he presumed that she had fully spoken for him as well. Miss Manners is happy to remove you from the Hurt Grandparent annals, which is overcrowded with people who haven't heard anything.
Address your etiquette questions to Miss Manners, in care of The Buffalo News, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240. The quill shortage prevents Miss Manners from answering questions except through this column.