DEAR MISS MANNERS: My daughter is a high school senior who graduated this year. However, due to the coronavirus, there was no graduation ceremony.
At the beginning of the school year, we ordered graduation announcements that stated the originally scheduled location, date and time of the ceremony. My daughter thinks it’s “stupid” to send them out, since graduation did not happen.
While the ceremony was canceled, my daughter’s graduation is a milestone for her, and I would like to mail the announcements to family and close friends. Is it OK to mail the announcements even though the details regarding the ceremony no longer apply?
GENTLE READER: Your daughter has learned something in addition to her high school studies. It is indeed strange and misleading -- ”stupid” is a bit harsh -- to announce a ceremony that has not taken place. And it is especially tactless to do so over the objections of the person most concerned.
Yes, Miss Manners understands that you are proud of your daughter’s achievement. There are ample ways for you to mention it to everyone whom you believe will be interested without using announcements that would prompt them to think, “So they held a graduation after all? That was foolhardy. I just hope they’re all OK.”
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I wish to inform my doctor I will no longer require his services. I’ve found a lot of information and protocols for doctors wishing to “terminate” a patient, but nothing for the patient wanting to properly communicate their wish to change doctors.
Were it merely a matter of thanking the doctor for their excellent care, I would not be at a loss for words. This is not that.
GENTLE READER: If you sued him for malpractice, he already knows you are leaving.
Short of that, if you feel you cannot even mention the care while dropping the modifier “excellent,” Miss Manners suggests, “I would appreciate it if you would forward my records to Dr. Nathaniel Tenderhands, as I will be seeing him in the future.”
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I’ve often wondered about the correct usage of “please.” Should it be used in this way: “Please hand me that item”? Or, rather, “Hand that item to me, please”? Or the third option of, ”Could you please hand me that item?”
Two of these seem to be making a request, but one sounds demanding. Which would be most proper?
GENTLE READER: The “please” should go before the request. But now that tedious people are given to resisting the simplest of conventional courtesies, Miss Manners is grateful when it is in there at all.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: When writing a letter on stationery that has only one deckled or torn edge, should the straight edge or the torn edge be at the top of the letter?
GENTLE READER: If it is torn, don’t use it. Miss Manners is only guessing that it is intended as a sort of petticoat ruffle, which goes at the bottom.
(Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, firstname.lastname@example.org; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)