New, improved and ever-so-polite

Nothing Personal starts minding its manners; Greg Brady's platinum record aspirations; the toilet seat that lowers itself. Plus: Brad Pitt says, "What, me worry?"

Published July 8, 1999 4:00PM (EDT)

Dearest sirs and ma'ams, most respected Nothing Personal readers:

I beg your permission to start today's column by offering my humblest thanks for your kind indulgence these past months. My rudeness, I realize now, must have shocked and saddened so many of you. After all, I never so much as tapped out a "please" or "thank you," let alone employ the "Mr.," "Mrs." and "Miss" titles now legally required of our fine youngsters in Louisiana.

I now understand that my unconscionable lack of politeness -- for which I would face "disciplinary action" in the Southern state presided over by that master of manners Gov. Mike "David Duke's buddy" Foster, Sir -- may well have directly contributed to the horrifying Littleton massacre; I am deeply grateful to the Louisiana Legislature for pointing this out. As Foster himself recently said of the finely honed politesse now required of children grades K-5 and soon to be expanded to include older students, "It's so simple. It just says that young people have to show respect to their teachers. It doesn't cost anything; teachers like it, and the public seems to like it." (And of course the kids just love it!)

So, wise and lovely public, without further ado, let us all (please) put our gloved hands together for the new and improved ever-so-polite Nothing Personal. (Thank you.)

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Bravo for Barry!

Three courteous cheers (please) for Mr. Barry Williams, the actor who played that pillar of politeness -- the right kind of inspiration for the kiddies (never mind that date with Mrs. Brady) -- Mr. Greg "The Brady Bunch, great show!" Brady. Masterful Mr. Williams is fixing to launch a solo singing career with a new CD, "The Return of Johnny Bravo." (Now, now, naughty naysayers, I'm sure this time it's much more than a case of "He fit the suit.")

Now 44, the erstwhile teenage star says he hopes his new album, due for release this fall, will make him the male equivalent of Ms. Celine Dion. (Loved her outfit at the Oscars, didn't you? And such a voice!) Snappy songage will include renditions of "Hip to Be Square," "Happy Together" and "Drift Away" as well as a medley of Brady classics, including that darlingest of ditties, "Sunshine Day."

And what, dear Mr. Williams, of the mannerly music of your brother in sitcomhood Mr. Peter Brady? As Nothing Personal always says, when it's time to change, you've got to rearrange. (Thank you.)

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Comments from a considerate snack food

"I am the red M&M ... You have to imagine that I'm sort of a candy-coated [Mr.] Leonardo DiCaprio."

-- Voice actor Mr. Billy West, respectfully commenting on the "wise guy" characteristics he brings to the crimson candy that's kind enough to melt in your mouth, not in your hands.

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Flush! Please be seated ...

Now here's an invention after our newly well-mannered hearts -- not to mention our same old buttocks. (Oops! I know, I know. Another phrase like that and I'll be sent to the school principal's office faster than you can say, uh, "same old buttocks.") Ahem ... anyhow ... please be so kind as to give it up for chivalry in a box: the self-closing toilet seat.

Courtly Canadian inventor Mr. Tim Feniuk says he invented the "Considerateseat" out of respect for his sisters and "militant mother," who, in his youth, routinely yelled at him whenever he left the terlet seat up. (Note to Mr. Feniuk, sir: In Louisiana, at least, there is no rule that adults have to be polite to children, so you're quite right to change your own behavior to accommodate your mother's preferences. New and improved Nothing Personal salutes your grasp of the law's finer shadings.)

The seat, which lowers itself automatically after use, retails in Canada for the tidybowl sum of $38 and will be introduced in the States this fall. Here's hoping Mr. Feniuk's politic porcelain doesn't encounter any of the same difficulties currently facing Japan's widely used high-tech heated toilets, which have recently taken to spitting sparks and starting fires, putting unwitting users right in the hot seat. The shocking rudeness!

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Zen and the art of perspective maintenance

And now, as justification for tossing off these shackles of niceness and returning to our same old rude, randy, highly irreverent selves, I offer these words of wisdom from Mr. Brad "A deep river runs through it" Pitt:

"You know, what's great about this celebrity thing is you learn that nothing's personal. People like you, they don't like you, they say what they want to say. And really most of it has nothing to do with you -- just what you represent in their eyes. What can you do? Nothing. So why worry about it?"

(If it's OK with you, Mr. Pitt, sir, I think I'll set this to music and make it the NP theme song.)

Government-mandated politeness? Fuck it. (Thank you.)

By Amy Reiter

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