Absolute absolutes


In philosophy there’s a school of thought that there are no such things as absolute truths, only shades of grey in between. Not in my book. To me there are some things so absolutely absolute that you absolutely should or shouldn’t do them, no matter what. Absolutely.

Absolutely… remember you are in public
Places where you should clip your nails: the bathroom. That’s it. On the bus, on the street, in the library, in a café and in mass are not places to lift out the clippers and attempt a home manicure; the clue is in the name. We are in an ever-connected world where we can remotely do most things while out and about – the wonders of modernity. But there are things you should never do anywhere other than at home. is list also includes, but is not limited to, applying make-up, calling to get your smear test results, picking spots, adjusting your knickers, applying face masks, fake tanning your arms, shaving or trimming hair – head, nasal, ears or shudder…

Absolutely… pick up after your dog
Dogs are lovely, friendly and fluffy and barky and wonderful. Dogs: like a hug on four legs. But they have bottoms and they poop, which is not so lovely. Which is why, if your lovely furry companion decides to relieve himself, you should bag
it and bin it. Always. Yes, it’s not pleasant but the dog can’t do it (there’s that pesky lack of fingers to contend with). And you should know that when you don’t pick up poop your dog is judging you. Silently, intently judging you with his head cocked to one side.

Absolutely… tell someone if they’ve something in their teeth, up their nose, in their hair or if their skirt is tucked into their knickers
One day last year I walked about for a full day with green eyebrows. Went to meetings, had a drink, browsed the shops… with green eyebrows. I’d applied green tinted face cream in the 7am light in my house and of course didn’t look in the mirror for the rest of the day. NO ONE told me. I don’t care if you don’t know the person, tell them when there’s something awry on their face or their skirt is tucked into their pants. No one ever takes this information badly. Trust me, I’ve been told so many times that my bum is on show (most recently by a man on Capel Street, Dublin, bless you, sir) and I’m still grateful to know and put it away. Even if I do walk off beetroot faced with embarrassment.

Absolutely… never park in a disabled parking space if you don’t need to
You would think that this is something everyone in the world would know. But no, there are still people who think it’s totally okay to park in a disabled parking space with the utterly flawed reasoning that, “sure it’s only for a minute.” We call these people idiots. No other word can be used. is is not okay. Full stop.

Absolutely… don’t tell someone you don’t want dinner then proceed to eat most of theirs
Somebody offers to make you some food. Ask yourself, “am I hungry?” If the answer is that you are then say, “yes please!” Don’t say, “no, no, God no,” then proceed to pilfer from their plate while saying, “I’ll just have a mouthful”. You offered them a full dinner, they’ve had their chance! “Joey doesn’t share food,” is one of the greatest lessons mankind has learn from Friends. If you live by the “no, thank you” you stay hungry by the “no, thank you.”

Absolutely… give your seat to someone who needs it
Something I’m seeing more and more – and it really makes me very sad – is people staring so intently at their phone that they look like they’re in some sort of human/smartphone staring Olympics; “I’m going for gold against an iPhone 7.” Meanwhile there’s a person standing opposite, struggling. Yes, this is an area that can be fraught with difficulty. You don’t want to offend someone. But looking like that right eejit who didn’t even get up to let someone sit down is worse. Offer. Even if it’s declined you’ll have done the right thing. en you can go home and treat yourself to an, “I’ve done the right thing and been a decent human being” slice of cake.

Absolutely… offer to make a cup of tea when you’re making one for yourself
I don’t care if you’re in an office, at home or in rented accommodation. If you are making tea then it is only right that you offer to put a brew on for all persons within a metre radius of you. is area expands if you someone has just popped up the stairs for a minute or is out doing the garden. It expands further if you know it’s your turn to make the office tea but you’re feeling lazy… is rule also applies when it’s you’re turn to get round in in the pub. But with a smaller radius, you’re not made of money.

Catherine Devane