George Washington's rule

If it was good enough for #1, it oughta be good enough for #39, #41, #42 and #43.

There could only be one president of the United States at a time, he reasoned, as our newest president also observed during the transition period. But there could be more than one American general, so he let it be known that he would revert to his previous title of General Washington.

One might have thought that the world had grown somewhat more casual since the 18th century. And a lot less interested in honorifics. But apparently we have also been growing more pompous. We now have four living former presidents addressing one another as Mr. President, and a citizenry worried that it would be disrespectful to follow George Washington’s rule.

Folks, these are not newly minted PhDs who showcase their achievements by insisting on being called Doctor. When you have been president of the United States, everyone knows it. You can afford to be modest.

– Miss Manners by Judith Martin –

Update: corrected misspelling in title. Which also f’s up the url. Oh, well.