Measuring society's fall

in iced tea spoons

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Society is declining. It has been for years. I'm not basing my assertion on the usual suspects: low test scores in schools; not teaching students actual world history; forcing religion and religious freedoms out of classrooms and lecture halls; erasing history; stifling freedom of speech; the lack of civil discourse by formerly respected official offices and professionals; a lack of common morality; public barbaric behavior by those old enough to know better; open and rampant incompetence and corruption at every level; and general family and public dysfunction. No, I base it on iced tea spoons.

I'm a Southerner by birth. As such, iced tea is my year-round beverage of choice. With lemon. And, occasionally, sweetener. When I go to a restaurant, from one star to five, it's a crap shoot as to whether I get an iced tea spoon with my beverage. Thirty years ago it was a standard maintained by most every restaurant of any caliber. Now, it's as rare as an honest politician's smile. I fear it has gone the way of soft butter at the table and bowtie-wearing waitstaff. Several restaurant managers have told me it's supposed to be the standard, but the quality of servers is so poor generally, they neglect to provide this “luxury” at the table. Recognizing an attempt to pass the buck, my response usually is, “It seems that management bears some responsibility since you hire and train. Poor performance is often a direct result of weak leadership.”

Sometimes after this conversation, as many as two iced tea spoons appear at my table. Sometimes none. But the initial odds never improve. The iced tea spoon barometer of society is steady. I hope year after year, but with little expectation, that it will rise.

Meantime, I'm an expert at stirring my tea with my butter knife.

Alfred Sletten.

Doswell.

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