DEAR MISS MANNERS: Both of my parents died fairly recently at ripe old ages (90 and 98). As the writer in the family, I collected relevant information, drafted both of their obituaries and asked my siblings to review them and make suggestions. I have also been asked to write obituaries for several of my friends’ family members.
I regularly read the obits published in newspapers and online to get ideas on how to make these important memorials interesting, informative and meaningful.
Being in my 60s, I decided to draft my own obituary to make things easier for my husband and children when I eventually die. I have been honored and privileged to be designated as godmother of four people — all children of various close friends. I have taken this responsibility seriously, and, except for one instance where the mother’s erratic behavior made it impossible, I have been involved and supportive throughout my godchildren’s lives. They are all now adults, and we have very cordial relationships.
Would it be proper to mention my godchildren in my obituary? If so, should I mention all four, or just the three with whom I am close? What would be a good way to phrase it?
GENTLE READER: An obituary traditionally only includes those who are directly related or who assume that status through marriage. While it is gracious of you to want to include your godchildren, it would be still more gracious to tell them now how much they mean to you.
Otherwise, Miss Manners fears that your obituary will look like a lengthy acceptance speech, thanking everyone who touched your life for getting you where you are today — well, not the “today” of the obituary, but before your demise. This is a hazard of writing your own obituary.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: What is the etiquette related to eating ramen noodles? They are sloppy and slide off the fork easily.
Since I can’t seem to find an etiquette-able way to eat them, should I just not eat them in public?
GENTLE READER: The method is similar to that of spaghetti — even if the noodles are annoyingly more slippery. Miss Manners suggests that you take this time at home to practice the twirling skill in private. The slurping noise that accompanies it, however, is considered more sloppy than appreciative in the West.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: A question for you about living rooms. I have no other way of putting this except to give an example: A family sits down in the living room after dinner and everyone takes out their book to read. Everyone is silent except for one person, who is being very loud and rambunctious. Finally, one person, fed up with the noise, asks them to please stop and go elsewhere if they will continue to be loud. Who is being rude?
GENTLE READER: Is the rambunctious person trying to make conversation? Or protesting reading time in favor of family togetherness? In either case, Miss Manners suggests that the terms of the living room’s use should be made clear on any given evening. Otherwise, it should be renamed the library — and another room designated for more verbal activity.