DEAR MISS MANNERS: Having immigrated here 30-plus years ago, I understand that life in a new country is intimidating. We go through culture shock and try to hang on to our customs, because they're familiar.

Yet I am appalled at the manners of many immigrants. Of recent years, no one has been forced to come to this country. So, we can only assume that those who are here have come because the U.S.A. offers a better life.

Yes, there are some Americans who are unpleasant, but I have found the vast majority to be wonderful. There comes a point where we have to decide to either embrace this country or depart for another destination.

Do not continue to "use" the benefits provided by life here while insulting those who provide you with that opportunity. I think that what initially appeared to be a handicap (the fact that I knew no one from my original country) turned out to be a blessing, as it forced me to integrate. God bless America.

Gentle Reader: Yes, indeed. And one of our blessings is the ability to grouse without its putting one's basic loyalties into question.

Dear Miss Manners: My 30-year-old daughter came over with her husband for lunch last Saturday and announced with a big smile that she had some good news -- she was pregnant.

I, of course, squealed with excitement.

The next remark, delivered deadpan, was my husband's: "Are you going to keep it?"

I was shocked and my daughter looked offended, so I tried to act as if my husband was just joking and admonished him playfully.


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Later, when I asked in private why he had made that remark, he said he was just joking. But he has said before in public that he is not ready to be a grandfather, so I believe his mixed feelings produced this negative response.

Should he apologize to my daughter and her husband?

Gentle Reader: Of course -- but saying that he is sorry he said it is not enough to do the job.

So Part 1 of the apology will have to stick with the story that he was joking, along with an admission of shame about what poor taste it was. Part 2 will be to bolster the joke excuse by declaring heartily that he was sure everyone would realize that it was the exact opposite of his true feelings.

Lame, but if he then smothers everyone with congratulations and enthusiasm, it will do.

Miss Manners appears Sundays, Mondays and Fridays. E-mail her at MissManners@unitedmedia.com.