George Washington’s Code of Civility

Washington copied out these 110 rules of civility as a schoolboy and while they are based — it would seem — on a 16th-century set of precepts, they are almost all (with some updating, naturally) applicable today. Don’t kill vermin, fleas or lice in front of people (I might even say “do not kill vermin”); do not express joy before a sick person (tacky!); be not tedious in discourse (yikes! Most of us should stop speaking then). And so on.

There is even one about eye-rolling (don’t do it), making one wonder if teenaged girls have always been as snarly and disrespectful. And what am I saying, “teenaged girls”? Heck, my parents used to roll their eyes at me, pretty much whenever I spoke.