Special is as Special Does (AKA “Yes, You are Special, but You’re Not More Special than Anyone Else.”)

Some of you may know the old-fashioned phrase, “Pretty is as pretty does,” i.e. a person is pretty when their behavior—not just their face– is pretty. In this day and age of crazy amounts of over-entitlement I’d like to expand that idea beyond how someone looks: to point out that while everyone is, undoubtedly, special, no one is so special that the rules (both written and unwritten) don’t apply to them.

What kinds of rules/miscreant behaviors am I talking about? For starters, anytime someone is talking on a cell phone underneath a sign stating, “No cell phones”, or smoking next to a sign stating “No smoking”, or parked next to a sign stating “No parking.”

(Not to mention blithely maneuvering their child’s stroller — complete with child and a full cup of Starbucks– into a shop stating “No strollers” and “No food and drink”.)

From there I would go on to include a few recent incidents I’ve observed:

People leaving their cars running while they shop at a farm stand—despite the fact that the car’s fumes are pouring all over the people working, and the produce for sale, at the farm stand.

People arguing with wait staff about wanting menu substitutions when the menu clearly states, “No substitutions.” (Please note: I’m not saying you can’t ask. I’m saying you shouldn’t argue.)

People allowing their children to play on a sculpture quite clearly stating “Do not touch”.

Now please don’t think I’m so deluded I don’t realize I’m also prone to this kind of entitled thinking and behavior. Most recently, I noticed that despite the fact that my Post Office has a very nice walkway leading up to it, I consistently find it’s more convenient for me to cut across the grass.

You know, because I’m so special.

And while some might argue that in the absence of a “Please keep off the grass” sign this isn’t actually a problem, I disagree. The fact that a path exists implies a desire for people to walk on it. And I’m not and, frankly, it’s something about me that’s starting to bug me.

Which is, I guess, why I bring this up. Not because observing the written and unwritten rules will make life easier for others but because, ultimately, I think they will make life better for you.