Typing with an ice pack balanced on my hand reminded me of charm school. No kidding -- I really went to charm school. Back in the day, I was a bonafide tomboy - rough and tumble, wouldn't wear a dress (see how much I've changed...?), had permanently dirty elbows and knees; I was heading hellbent to feral. My mother, bless her soul, was afraid for my future prospects and decided to take matters in hand.
Every weekend, I would shuffle into class with the other assorted "problem" girls and spend hours learning how to walk, stand, sit, get into and out of a car, pour tea, make polite conversation, turn gracefully - you name it, we were put through it. We learned how to deal with a vast assortment of spoons, forks, knives, plates, and glasses. I was quite taken with the wine glasses and was greatly disappointed when we were served water. Even at 12, I had gourmand sensibilities. (Right.) And, even though I griped and moaned and carried on something awful every weekend, I had to go. After a while, my competitive nature took over and I ended up graduating at the top of my class. Really, honest-to-gawd. Even now, many (many) years later, faced with six forks to my left, I can handle them. Fish fork? No problem. Cheese knife? Let me at it. I can pivot, with a book on my head, and sit gracefully in a chair. Of course, there's not much call for that particular ability, and it's a little harder getting out of a chair these days.
Seriously, those forced Saturdays of "yes, ma'ams" and "no ma'ams" did serve me well in adulthood. I was able to carry on an intelligent conversation with the Chinese emissaries from a large trade group; I won over a formidable, anti-American French restaurant owner with good manners, a smattering of bad French and a sense of humor; I danced with a Governor at a Governor's ball. Hooo, baby. There was no stopping me. But, at heart, I am still more feral than not. It's sort of like covering a fox in fondant. Or something like that.
I think we should send everyone in the world to charm school. Maybe, if everyone learned good manners, we could get along better. There seems to be a complete dearth of manners in anyone under the age of 20 now. But there is hope! More and more families (most especially my favorite families - youse guys) are teaching their children kindness and civility - they are being raised on love. That's what the world needs. A whole lotta love.