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As I stroll around in that bland, vacuous
manner of mine, people point at me
and say, ‘That’s nice.'; I’m quite flattered really,
because when I was younger, I was
considered rather foolish and stupid.
I was even considered ignorant,
just like my ancestors used to be.
Then, later on, I grew up to become
rather showy or dainty or just plain coy.
Once, in happier times, I left
my walking stick leaning against a doorway.
Then realized the owner wasn’t coming back.
Some said I was very strange – how times change.
Nowadays, people sometimes mix me up:

with my sister’s daughter and offer me
a biscuit or send me a pretty postcard
from France – which is kind.  And they can often
be quite appreciative of me.
Sometimes, however, they will politely
try to avoid referring to me
and rather wish I wasn’t around.
And call me something else, which, personally,
I must say, I find quite offensive.
Like you, I’d prefer to be called by
my proper name and not by some other.
After all, if I was really quite pleasant,
I wouldn’t be so nice.

ix Degrees of Nicety


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