There’s nothing like a hootenanny for the holidays

Gentle readers, it’s been a long time.  I realize the last month or so has been pretty lame, A-Little-Help-wise.  Things have been busy and exciting around here, which means they’ve been absolutely dead around here. It’s not likely to get much better before Christmas, but things will pick up again in the New Year!

In the meantime, I want to remind everyone that it’s almost time for Carolyn Hax’s annual Holiday Horrors Hootenanny!  Each December, in the weeks before Christmas, Carolyn turns one of her live chats into a festival of Festivus fiascos.  Don’t miss the fun–and her dad’s annual “Night Before Christmas” parody.

As a bonus, this year I submitted a holiday horror story of my own (you can too!), so there’s that to look out for.  I don’t know whether it will be posted in the chat or not, but if you follow along, take a guess at which catastophe is one of the ghosts of A Little Help’s Christmases past.

Happy holidays, happy flurries, happy shopping, happy parties…happy happy.

One response to “There’s nothing like a hootenanny for the holidays

  1. I found this website while googling the phrase “‘A little help’ + rude”. I just saw (again) a commercial for the US Postal Service’s flat rate package deliver where the young lady is loading her car with Christmas gifts and drops one and puts her in a precarious position to drop all the rest. Along comes the “Flat Rate Postman” and she beckons him with the offending phrase, “A little help!”. Maybe its a regional thing, because the only place I’ve ever heard that phrase is on television commercials over the last ten years or so. That phrase, though, whether ‘doctored’ with the more polite ‘please’ or not, is very offensive to me. I have lived in a variety of places but choose to make my home in the South where I was born. It is implicitly expected here that a cry for assitance is ALWAYS phrased as a question, i.e.,’could you give me a hand, please?”, “would you please assist me?”, “Would you please help me with the door?”. I have never heard the words, “A little help!” that I didn’t instantly sense the demander’s lack of humility or appeal, but rather their expectation that you owe them relief from the situation they have gotten into. I have a very similar response to people who carelessly bulldoze over you while muttering ‘excuse’. And that’s another increasingly common term that is boorishly impersonal, when rather than ASKING “excuse me, please?”, a person merely commands “excuse”. The missing elements are critical to civility: a REQUEST and a PERSONALIZATION. “Excuse” means nothing and its NOT civil. “A little help” is a command and it subconsciously leaves the identity of the needy entity unspoken as to say, “Hey you! Help some person in your vacinity that needs your service who shall remain unnamed”. If you have the patience for a third, its the increasingly common response to having offered someone a service, or a piece of gum or some cranberry sauce, or whatever, and be responded to with, “I’m good” as a substitute for “no, thank you”. Civility has made a huge shift from gentility toward an impersonal substitution for personal politeness. “A little help” is one of the big red flags that first drew my attention to this trend.

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