Mr. Manners is here to help

Originally Published: May 20, 2011
By DJ Gallo | Page 2

Mr. Manners

The NBA and NHL playoffs are in their conference championship rounds. Let the games serve as a reminder to keep your behavior at a championship level, as well.

It's time for another edition of Mr. Manners.

Dear Mr. Manners,
I am probably known best as an action star and governor, but I have always seen myself primarily as an athlete due to my bodybuilding past. So I thought I would ask you for advice. Here's my predicament: My term as governor recently ended and my wife and I announced we are separating, even though we have four children together. Side note: Our relationship ended because I had a secret child with a member of our household staff 10 years ago. How could I have handled this better?
-- Arnold S. (California)

Dear Adultering Arnold,
What's done is done. Your major slipup in etiquette occurred more than 10 years ago and there is no way to undo that now (unless movies like "The Terminator" are true and time travel is possible). All that you could have controlled now is how you shared your news with your wife. I find it best to put a positive spin on bad news. You are familiar with this as an action star: When you kill someone, you don't just kill them, you first deliver a fun, witty line ... and then pull the trigger.

In the future, when you tell your wife about an illicit child, consider breaking the news with one of the following lines:

"Hasta la vista, I have a baby."

"I'll be back ... most likely with my divorce attorney after you hear what I have to tell you."

"It's not a toomah! It's a baby."

Maybe your wife will laugh and take the news a little better. She may even deliver a catchphrase of her own, like: "Consider this a divorce."
-- Mr. Manners

Dear Mr. Manners,
My basketball team had won back-to-back NBA titles, but this year we were swept out of the playoffs in an upset. In our final loss, I let my emotions get the best of me and elbowed an opposing player, who is half my size, across the chest as he drove the lane. What can I do to restore my reputation?
-- Andrew B. (Los Angeles)

Dear Angry Andrew,
All a man has is his reputation. And it's tough to restore it after it has been tarnished. But lucky for you, you are in Los Angeles. In your very same city there is a man who defines all that it means to be well-mannered and refined. His name is Ron Artest, and he is the 2011 recipient of the NBA's Citizenship Award. Just watch Mr. Artest and do exactly what he does. Your reputation will be glowing in no time.
-- Mr. Manners

Dear Mr. Manners,
I am a boxer from Philadelphia. I recently said that fellow Philadelphia sports legend Donovan McNabb is not black enough. I said that he thinks he's white. I also said that he seems like a nice guy and that I'd trust him with my kids. Am I good?
-- Bernard H. (Philadelphia)

Dear Pitiful Pugilist,
No, you are not good. I won't address your situation specifically any further. Instead, I would like to use this as an opportunity to put out a call for an intern. I need someone who can help me get through the backlog of letters I have from people who have disrespected Donovan McNabb in some way without provocation. It seems I get dozens of these letters every week. I can't keep up. Please send your résumé to ESPN c/o Mr. Manners. In addition to catching up on McNabb disrespect-related correspondence, interns will also be required to freshen my brandy snifter throughout the day.
-- Mr. Manners

Dear Mr. Manners,
I have two players on my team who used to be very good baseball players and helped us win championships. Unfortunately, now they are both in their late 30s and struggle to hit their weight. The matter is complicated further by the fact that they make more than $30 million combined. How can I tell them they can't play anymore without hurting their feelings?
-- Joe G. (New York)

Dear Old Problem In New York,
Thank you for your letter. Dealing with aging loved ones is a very delicate and often heartbreaking process. I recently went through this with my grandmother. She was a threat to herself and others on the road, so we had to take her car keys from her. She was angry at first, but before long she realized that it was for the best. Someone could have died.

I tell you this because you should handle your situation the same way. Take your players' bats away from them so they can't hit. They'll be angry at first, but eventually they'll realize that you prevented the death of their reputations.

Another option is to just give it to them straight, like: "Hey, guy -- you're making $13 million to sit on the bench. Some people in life have had it worse."
-- Mr. Manners

Dear Mr. Manners,
Recently I said something that I truly believe. But then it ruffled some feathers so I said I was just joking. Am I off the hook?
-- David K. (Minneapolis)

Dear JK David K,
Sometimes I find it's best to put my questionable actions and words in a different context. For example, say you were the president of the Minnesota Timberwolves basketball team. Now imagine if someone said this on television: "The Timberwolves are an embarrassment to the NBA, mainly because they have horrific management." And then, sometime later: "I was just kidding." How would you feel? There's your answer.
-- Mr. Manners

DJ Gallo is the founder and editor of His first book, "A View from the Upper Deck", is available at fine discount book retailers. You can follow him on Twitter at @DJGalloESPN.

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