DEAR MISS MANNERS: I fell and hit my head, which left a large bruise (black eye and large scar) on one side of my face. Every time I go out in public, someone asks me what I did to my face. Most of the questioners are total strangers, e.g., store clerks and fellow bus riders.
I usually get mad and tell them to mind their own business. Is there any polite but firm way to let these people know they're out of line? I understand friends asking, but why does a visible injury make me exhibit A?
GENTLE READER: Snarling at people to mind their own business -- however justified by their nosiness -- would be a good way to convince people that your injuries were the result of your own pugnaciousness.
Oddly enough, claiming that, with a cheerful "You should see the others -- and there were five of them," would have the opposite effect.
However, Miss Manners does not require you to engage with strangers. A quick dismissal would be, "Thank you, I'm fine," as if they were good citizens inquiring only to know if you needed help.