For a stoic new year

Ann Egerton

December 31, 1990|By Ann Egerton

I'VE MADE a list of New Year's resolutions, not just for me, but for all of us to try to follow. Actually, it's just one generic resolution, not a list of things to keep track of, so it should be fairly easy to do. All it involves is for us to stop talking about ourselves, specifically, to stop interjecting our personal problems and wishes into conversations with strangers and employers, especially while we're on the job.

I'd like Connie Chung to keep her desire for a baby to herself, at least between her husband and herself, and not to confide such news to a prime-time audience. I'd like those on "Today" and the other morning shows not to squander expensive air time with announcements of their birthdays and giggling gift suggestions.

I'd like pilots of airliners, when a flight is turned back because of mechanical failure, not to boom to the terrified passengers: "If you think you're upset, think how the ground crew feels. This is making a lot of work for them." I'd like stewardesses who are substitutes (through no fault of the passengers) not to grouse about having to work. I'd like waiters and waitresses not to tell me their names and not to join in my table conversations. I'd like the house painter who complains about his wife and kids to concentrate on his painting.

Americans treasure their individuality and sometimes forget that they are working for a group, whether that group is a small business or a corporation or a community. We seem to think that our private lives and opinions are more important than the efficient performance of our jobs. I can't imagine a Japanese automaker discussing his or her private life while on the job. There might be a lesson there, given the popularity and performance of Japanese automobiles in this country.

The Me Decade is over now. If we are sliding into a recession, perhaps our attitudes can be a little more self-effacing as the times require.

Have a happy but stoic 1991.

Ann Egerton writes from Lutherville.

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