DEAR MISS MANNERS: I responded to a post on Facebook using a double-entendre. As with most double-entendres, one interpretation was rather straightforward while the other was somewhat inappropriate.
I posted this on the page of a friend who was not offended by the message. However, several of her friends, whom I do not know, did take offense.
As I see it, my audience was the friend and I shouldn't feel remorse for my message. Should I have considered every possible reader and assumed that they would be easily offended? I'd rather not sanitize my comments to please the most prudish person in any situation.
GENTLE READER: Then you will find out what such people think of you.
However much you think of such sites as a means of private correspondence, they are not. The very idea is widespread sharing of what is written. Even whatever controls seem to exist cannot prevent your friends from passing on what you wrote.
And then nothing on earth will stop the other readers from critiquing what you wrote. Everybody's a critic nowadays.
Of course you can then snap back, and thus start an endless critical exchange with people you don't know. That is, indeed, many people's idea of fun, although Miss Manners can hardly dignify it by calling it an exchange of ideas.
But all you apparently intended was to be in private touch with your friend. There are other means to do so. None of them is sacrosanct if your friend decides to tell others, but they are at least a bit less public.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My first cousin died tragically in a car accident. My two sisters, who are both married, made the two-hour drive and attended the out-of-town services.
One of my sister's husband attended (mine did as well), but the other husband chose to stay home due to a pet having surgery (mind you, the pet stayed at the vet all night).
Our family was very close to my passed cousin, and I thought it quite rude that my brother-in-law not attend. We are talking about a human being versus an animal.
I've heard the "Fluffy is part of the family" argument before and I don't buy it. I had multiple pets growing up, but a human celebration of life far outweighs the living pet in my opinion. Please tell me if this line of thinking is in left field.
GENTLE READER: No, but it is unwise. In times of high emotion such as funerals and weddings, people have an unfortunate tendency to dwell on slights they perceive from others.
Miss Manners begs you to let this pass. First because the Fluffy excuse may be questionable, quite apart from the animal vs. human angle, since your brother-in-law was not at the veterinarian's with Fluffy. The real reason, justifiable or not, may have been something else. But more importantly because the funeral is past and you should be appreciating those who did attend, not focusing on those who did not.