I'm a pain to live with. I know it. I like everything straight and uncluttered in our public areas... the lounge and kitchen. My wife has patiently (or not sometimes!) put up with me like this for nearly 40 years.
Our favorite in-house banter goes like this.
Her: "I'm NOT putting the bread away now to please you - I may still want another slice later!"
Me: "That Swiss finishing school certainly hasn't done you any favors."
Come to think of it, she rarely laughs any more at that one, so maybe I have to change the punch line :)
My attitude is not my fault. I had the dubious honor of being brought up poor, but in my teens I was trained as rich. For example, my two delightful elderly aunts, long passed now, would lecture me on my eating whenever I visited.
These old-fashioned wealthy spinsters would advise me matter of factly... "You can always tell if someone has been brought up properly by the way they hold their knife at the dinner table."
I'll describe how you too can enter the hallowed portals of good manners in a minute, but first I want to tell you why it matters.
When you win a lot of money in the lottery (and you WILL), suddenly you're going to be exposed to a whole new world. Unless you choose not to take part in it.
But I'm guessing you'll want to celebrate your win in the fanciest restaurant in town... just because you can afford it at last.
And the head waiter, looking at your group over the top of his sniffy nose, will know EXACTLY where you came from, and whether you have old money or new.
He will be able to tell by the way you hold your knife.
So why should you care? I agree... living up to the expectations of others - particularly when you've got a few million dollars in the bank - is not that important after you win and have the world at your feet.
But if you want to get good service (no hairs in your soup), you need to fit in. And the culture can be quite a strange maze - even impossible to figure out for some people, including my wife.
Some years ago we were dining in an Italian restaurant, and my wife wanted some attention from a waiter... I think for a refill. She waved and called out (not loudly), but the solemn figure in the corner of the busy restaurant ignored her, looking away.
So I made a bet with her. I said she owes me 25c if I can get the waiter over. She had given up by then. "Do it - I bet twice that amount you can't!" It was the biggest bet ever in our 30 years of marriage. Game on!
By then our end of the table had gotten interested, and were looking at me expectantly. I looked over to the waiter - now some 30 feet away - and raised my hand a little, with the index finger pointed up. It was a slight movement, but one that professionals like waiters and auctioneers are trained to look for. It means I'm going to spend more.
That slight movement caused him to straighten up and come over at speed. I'm sure he didn't realize what made everyone so happy around me, but it didn't matter.
You see, I knew a couple of things. I knew in Italian culture the male is dominant. So they will pay more attention to the men than the women.
And that good manners doesn't mean shouting to get attention. A mere glance or twitch of a hand will do it most times. It worked for me - and secretly I impressed even myself. So like it or not - if you haven't been brought up by two doting aunts skilled in the language of old-fashioned manners, I suggest you get some tuition. It will pay off heaps.
And how do you hold your knife correctly? Those who don't 'know' will hold it like a writing pen.
Those who do will tuck the handle into their palm, with the index finger pointing down on top of the blade. And they will NEVER use the knife to point to people.
Don't you feel better about winning a large sum of money, and holding your own in the sophisticated world of fine dining?
I thought so :)
Here's what else happens when you follow my advice:
Hi Ken; ...I followed your advice... I WON $100,000.00!!!!!! on my second try. Your system works and your tips are very important to follow. I'm continuing to play and expect to win again. I'll write again when I do. Thanks for a system that works.
By the way, if you've won any prize using my system - no matter how small - share your good fortune with us here: /winners
Never did get that 50c, come to think of it.