Minding your Ps and Qs

On a trip to England to the prerequisite pub visit, I learned one version regarding the history of the term “minding your Ps and Qs.” There are numerous theories, so let’s go with the 1700s pub version addressing the number of pints and quarts consumed.

It is said that back in the day, a pub owner would keep a tab with chalk marks on a board. If the patron got too drunk, a server might add a few extra marks to increase the tab. It served as a reminder to keep track of your own pints and quarts.

Another favorite idiom is, “Mind your own beeswax.” Again, there is no definitive answer, but the one I like the most involves busybody candlemakers paying more attention to others than minding their own beeswax-making process. Both sayings have evolved to be a polite way of saying, “Mind your own business.”

It’s shocking to hear not everything is our business. Since the advent of social media, people have been oversharing various aspects of their lives. With particular sharing, it may seem reasonable to ask people other personal questions. It is not. Some information isn’t our business.

The latest infringement on personal space is how or why some people qualify to get a vaccine while others do not. (Please do not clutter my space with reasons for not getting a vaccination. Though I’m intrigued by conspiracy theories, I follow the science. It is also not my business to ask the whys and why-nots for declining vaccinations, though I am an interested listener.)

I’m not suggesting we stop healthy discourse or stop sharing factual information. I am suggesting that asking why one person is “vaccine worthy” isn’t appropriate. The goal is for everyone wishing to be vaccinated to have the chance. Perhaps instead of only asking, “How did you qualify?” soften the stance with a “congratulations.”

Have I always minded my own Ps and Qs? Absolutely not. I can think of more than a few incidents when my thoughts have waterfalled from my brain to my mouth. At the very least, I hope I’ve apologized. At the most, I’ve been made aware and learned my lesson. Good luck minding your own Ps and Qs.


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