Ask the Manners Guy: Sorry Sight

Sorry Sight

My left eye is what’s commonly called “lazy.” I’ve had the condition since birth. As a kid, I was teased a lot, but even now, at 36, I get stares and insults. People think I’m glaring at them, that I have a mental disability, or that I’m high. Doctors say I can’t get it surgically straightened. How can I address this issue if, say, I’m in an elevator with people who are staring, pointing, and whispering, or God forbid laughing? I’ve experienced all that and more.

—Chagrined in Chicago

I’m sorry you have to put up with such lowlifes. Part of the problem may be that people with a lazy eye, or amblyopia, are unfairly portrayed in pop culture. From Saturday morning cartoons to raunchy comedies, a lazy eye is shorthand for stupidity or outright insanity. Not helpful. I understand somewhat what it’s like to present an atypical appearance: I once broke my jaw and had to bartend for six weeks with my mouth wired shut. (Some of my worst customers thought it was hilarious.) My best advice is to use humor to defuse the situation. If someone is giving you a funny look or actually tittering about your eye, try pretending you have no idea it’s unusual. Ham it up and act like you’re just now discovering that your eye is misaligned: “Oh my God, really? No way!” Another approach is to tell people, “My eye is not lazy, just unmotivated.”

The Manners Guy is a former bartender who knows his way around awkward social situations. Send your questions to [email protected].

Featured image: Shutterstock

Ask the Manners Guy

Coupe de Swill

I brought an expensive bottle to a dinner party. The host thanked me, put it away, and opened a bottle of el cheapo chardonnay. What’s the best way to hint that you’d like to drink the wine you brought? —Dale, St. Louis

Ah, the old vino switcheroo. If you truly can’t stomach a few glasses of the cheap stuff before moving on to your precious petite Syrah, you’ve got to be bold. Upon setting foot in your host’s home, announce your bottle and — in the same breath — ask for a wine key so you can get the party started. If this critical window of time passes you by, scan the appetizers for something that, you will claim, pairs beautifully with your wine offering. You’d better be able to back it up with an explanation of the delicate notes.

Grandpaparazzi

I live in a retirement community, and I’m sick of hearing about everyone’s wonderful grandkids. If I see one more “cute” baby picture, I’m going to scream.  —Mandy, Indianapolis

Smartphones are a blessing and a curse. There is seemingly no limit to the amount of banal, out-of-focus snapshots that can fit in those things. There is one magic phrase you can use when you feel the deluge of show-and-tell coming on: “I’ve seen those,” followed up with something like “adorable!” Odds are that they’ve also shared their pictures on Facebook, and subjecting you to them again would be downright cruel. If they are cruel (or just clueless) and won’t back off, whip out your own device and give them a play-by-play of your recent cruise to Cuba. Sometimes you have to play hardball with these people.

The Manners Guy is a former bartender who knows his way around awkward social situations. Send your questions to [email protected].

This article is featured in the September/October 2019 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.

Featured image: Shutterstock.

Ask the Vet’s Pets: Down Play

Cartoon drawing of a mixed breed dog.
(Shutterstock)

Dear Daisy Dog: How can I stop Chester, my young pointer mix, from jumping on me and other people? I was told to knee him in the chest when he jumps, but that’s not working.

Daisy Responds: Chester is jumping on people because he wants attention. So let’s use that information and some positive reinforcement — which is always more effective than aversive training — to get what you want. When Chester jumps on you, turn your back to him, so you’re not making eye contact. Don’t speak to him. Raise your hands into your armpits so you don’t inadvertently pet him if he rubs his head against your hand. As soon as he has all “four on the floor,” turn around and ask him to sit. When he’s sitting, praise him and pet him. If he jumps again, repeat the process. He’ll soon learn that the best way to get your attention is to sit.

Ask the Vet’s Pets is written by Daisy Dog and Christopher Cat, with a little help from veterinarian Lee Pickett, VMD. Send questions to Daisy and Christopher at [email protected]

This article is featured in the September/October 2019 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.

Featured image: Shutterstock