The MAtH (man about the house) and I see that Dianne Isbell has jumped into the Obama-rama in her Monday Etiquette column in the Belleville News-Democrat today.
Me: It's Presidents Day
MAtH: Is the flag out?
Me: Yes it is, but Dianne is giving a lesson in how to respectfully meet and greet and converse with the president.
MAtH: Is this news we can use? I mean, how many of us will be having a conversation with the president?
Me: I guess it's a matter of "just in case" the impossible happens.
MAtH: Let's hear what she has to say, I have to be in D.C. in the coming weeks, who knows who I'll meet.
Me: Here's Dianne's introduction to the topic: "Especially appropriate for today, Presidents Day, are a number of
questions I have recently been asked regarding proper presidential
protocol and respect."
MAtH: Who are these people asking her for advice on meeting a president? Do they all think because they voted for President Obama, he's going to be having them to dinner?
Me: Lots of people seem to think so.
MAtH: They got the "hope" part right anyway.
Me: The first question: "I attended one of the campaign events in 2008 and I was able to get some really great pictures of then-Sen. Barack Obama on my little digital cameras. I had some enlarged and am wondering if I can send them to the President for his scrapbook..."
MAtH: His scrapbook!
Me: Wait, there's another question in there. "and perhaps get him to autograph one and return it to me. I am just an everyday citizen, so can I do this? If so, how do I address the letter, etc.?
MAtH: This person wants to send some pictures he/she took at a campaign rally to the president for his scrapbook and hopes that the president will be able to part with one, autograph it and mail it back?
Me: Yes. Dianne advises: "you certainly can write a letter to our president. As Emily Post writes: The proper address is: The President, The White House, Washington, DC 20500.
Closing: "Respectfully yours,"
MAtH: Stamp enclosed envelope?
Me: You're good. Yes, Dianne said to include that.
MAtH: Can't expect the taxpayers to front the bill for a stamp in these times.
Me: Here's another protocol question: "Is it true that if you are ever invited to the White House for an event with a receiving line, that men always go ahead of their wives to shake hands first? That doesn't seem to be the proper respect for your wife."
MAtH: A woman wrote that question don't you think? She's meeting the president in the White House (dream on) and is worrying about her own station in life.
Me: Dianne says, "Actually, the protocol is the more prominent person or the person in the marriage who holds the more highly regarded job or position (and is therefore the rationale for the invitation in the first place) goes through the receiving line first whether it is the husband or the wife."
MAtH: That makes sense, in rather un-Dianne-like language.
Me: She's quoting from someone I'd bet.
MAtH: It's still an awkward sounding sentence, but I get the point.
Me: Here's a good question: "I am surprised no one sent a puppy to the new president. Isn't that possible?"
MAtH: Good grief! Does everyone think they're Obama's best friend?
Me: How would you send a puppy to the White House anyway? By UPS, drive it there yourself?
MAtH: This is crazy.
Me: How about this question: "If I were ever to get close enough to the president and shake his hand, do I call him "President Obama"? Can I tell him I have an idea for him to consider to help our economy?"
MAtH: Hahahahaha. He's the president of the United States! He's not your alderman.
Me: All these economists working to fix the economy and a person who voted for him thinks he has the answer.
MAtH: We all think we have the answer.
Me: We do?
MAtH: Well I don't but lots of people seem to have opinions on it.
Me: Anyway, here's how Dianne trys to talk this guy out of giving his take on the economy should he get the chance to shake Obama's hand: "Mr. President."
If there is time, you might add, "It is an honor to shake your hand." To attempt to delay his progress by starting a longer conversation would be inappropriate."
MAtH: Haha. No idle chatter in a receiving line. Hello and move on. Good one. Go to a town hall meeting with your insights on the economy.
Me: Wouldn't it be funny, though, if you happened to be strolling through the capitol next month when the president came down the same hall?
MAtH: You think the secret service would let me be strolling through a hallway at the same time as the president?
Me: Ok, suppose you got asked to sit in on a casual capitol chat and he came?
MAtH: You don't know how Washington works, do you? It isn't like around here, you don't just get to sit in on things with the president. You have to go through long list of security checks in the weeks before the event.
Me: I remember now. When President Bush came to Collinsville in 2005 we had to go through a check in order to attend.
MAtH: Exactly. But, if the impossible does happen and I meet the president, I'll be sure to get his autograph.
Me: Haha. I'd rather have a photo.
MAtH: For his scrapbook.