Excuse me. I'm sorry. I was wrong. Please. Thank you.

In the old days, most of us had manners. And if we didn't, they were beaten into us by our parents.

Still, the old days were far from perfect. We also had race riots. Watergate. Pardoning of presidents. Gas shortages. No seat belts in cars. Litter up to the kneecaps. Ear-destroying music. Barry Manilow.

We also had some interesting expressions. "Good Lord willing and the creek don't rise." Last February's flood on the Walla Walla River and Mill Creek is proof that expression still holds water.

"Got a hitch in my giddy-up." At 55 and above, we'd be happy to experience one hitch at a time.

"I'm going to see a man about a dog." That had to do with needing a restroom, and now we say it every hour all night long.

"Holy cow." No, we hadn't gone Hindu. We just dropped fewer F-bombs in our daily war with the English language.

"Fiddlesticks." That's what we said when we opened a package of out-of-focus pictures from the roll dropped off 24 hours earlier at the Fotomat "one-day photo service."

"Don't lose your head; your brains are in it." Losing our temper on Facebook and Twitter, then, was not the national pastime.

"Land sakes." That was a favorite of my mom. She said it after circling the grocery store parking lot seven times looking for a space so she could get one item from a coupon in the newspaper. Then she'd drive the Rambler to the next grocery store and do the same.

"Far out." A favorite of flower children who mainly loved a certain kind of flower.

"Groovy." What our friends said when we revealed plans to go to the coast or mountains.

"Yippee skippy." No, this wasn't joy over a brand of peanut butter on a PBJ sandwich. It was an expression of cynicism over having a college summer job cleaning outdoor park toilets in 90-degree heat.

"Hold on to your britches." What our parents said when we revealed plans to hitchhike across country rather than to go to college.

"Golly gee willikers." What we said instead of taking the Lord's name in vain.

"Finders keepers losers weepers." When we found a penny and a penny could still buy a wad of rock-hard Joe Bazooka bubblegum wrapped in a cartoon strip.

"Killing two birds with one stone." We used this expression as a sign of be efficiency. Today, political correctness and a love for our feathered friends means being more careful with the language.

It's time we brought back some of these kinder and gentler expressions to replace F-bombs. It's time we brought back manners. Holding doors for people. Not blowing coal from your pickup truck on hapless bicyclists. Not glorifying bullies. Saying please and thank you and I was wrong.

It's the right thing to do. Now I need to see a man about a dog.

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