"The ongoing collapse of courtesy is no surprise in a nation with so many people who are as self-absorbed as black holes. Consider this T-shirt I've spotted: 'It's all about me -- deal with it.' ... Push in your seat when leaving tables in restaurants, libraries, and conference rooms. Abandoning your chair or barstool in the middle of a path obstructs those who walk by after you depart. ... It remains civilized to hold open the door for someone who is walking a few steps behind you. Letting the door slam in his face is rude. When someone opens a door for you, say 'thank you.' Muttering 'Excuse me' makes a gracious person feel his thoughtfulness is abusive. Walking by and saying nothing, as if that lady or gentleman were your servant or simply invisible, is vulgar. ... 'Please' and 'thank you' are not vulgarities. Use them generously, especially around children. They need to learn two of the language's finest words, even if adults say them less than they should. ... Trash cans are there for a reason. Use them. ... A major airline's East Coast shuttle lounge in Washington, DC's Reagan National Airport -- gateway for learned attorneys, lobbyists, journalists, and members of Congress -- recently almost suffocated beneath whole sections and loose pages of various newspapers. They were strewn across the floor and on many seats. These literate adults apparently did not have their mommies on hand to locate the ubiquitous, neglected garbage bins. The point of all this is not necessarily to turn every American man and woman, respectively, into Cary Grant and Grace Kelly, though we could do worse. The idea is to encourage each of us -- every day, in tiny ways -- to subtract from, rather than add to, the worries of an impolite world."