DEAR MISS MANNERS: My wife and I have been divorced for 10 years. I have family members who seem to enjoy telling me how much they disliked her.
My former spouse and I are not friends, but we were married a long time, and at one point we did love/like each other very much. I consider my family's put-downs as a personal attack on me. What can I finally say to stop this rudeness once and for all?
GENTLE READER: "Please! You are speaking about a lady who was my wife."
Said in the tone of an offended gentleman ready to fight a duel to protect his lady's good name -- only the tense of the verb has been changed -- this will flabbergast your relatives. They are obviously so used to spouses bad-mouthing their own former choices as to think you would enjoy this. Miss Manners congratulates you on being too much of a gentleman.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: As a veteran Las Vegas blackjack dealer, I've been involved in a heated discussion with my colleagues concerning the tipping practices of losing gamblers. Casino tipping is always a hot topic because it's how we make most of our living.
It is not, however, the same as tipping a food server or a valet, where gratuities are usually offered for services rendered. Quite often, at gaming tables, large amounts of money hang in the balance and can be lost in the blink of an eye, seriously affecting the financial well being of an individual or a family.
Many of my co-workers expect to be tipped even by losing players because they say it has everything to do with etiquette and good manners. I say this is a ludicrous expectation on the part of the truly selfish.
Unfortunately, in the world of casino gaming, there's no rhyme or reason to the tipping practices of many players. I've been tipped by people who have lost, and I've been stiffed by people who have won.
I would never expect a gratuity from a losing player, and those dealers who do should seek employment in a different profession. I say the expectations of etiquette and good manners should have acceptable limitations, especially when it concerns a person's bank account. What say you?
GENTLE READER: Certainly not that only the fortunate should practice good manners. But also that your colleagues have unrealistic expectations.
It is true that polite people tip routinely, knowing that those who perform certain services do not get their full wages from their employers. But, as you point out, the service you perform is not quite like that of a food server. If the food is bad, the waiters should not be penalized (although they often are); complaints should be made to the restaurant management.
But you and your colleagues don't just deal the cards. You represent the house, which is, in effect, the gamblers' opponent. And although you personally have not acquired the money that was lost, it may be difficult for the gambler to make that distinction.
Besides, he feels fresh out of money. Miss Manners agrees that you are wise not to expect more.