The end of the week is often a time of reflection. People like to think about what’s what’s happened over the past week; things they could have, should have, would have. Some people go to church, temple or other retreat and think about how they’ve been treating people. Others think about that all the time. Some yogis try to practice non-harming Ahimsa, which extends even to the food they eat. But let’s face it, though we might try our best to be kind to and thoughtful of our fellow man, we sometimes fail. And when that happens, what do we do? Why, the easiest, most thoughtful thing we can: we say “I’m sorry.”
Back in the old days, the word, “sorry” actually meant something. Heck, a person might even have cried when he said it, especially if that person was a child. Kids were still properly afraid of their parents for no reason other than the fact that their parents were their parents (and Mom and Dad weren’t terrified of being thrown in jail for looking at their kids sideways). Remember those days, when people treated each other with… I think they called it respect? If you did something wrong, you really were sorry. You might have said “It’ll never happen again,” and you meant that too. You put in some effort to make sure you didn’t do again whatever it was you did wrong. But these days, the remorse and a sense of putting things right seems to have been evacuated from the equation; sorry is no longer the hardest word. It’s the easiest answer to any unpleasant situation, the quickest cop out and way to feign caring.
So instead of continuing to bullshit each other, today is the day we should stand together and declare “sorry” a pointless,useless expression. It is a word that should be omitted from language — even obliterated. In my house alone, I must hear at least 20 instances of “sorry” each day — that’s 140 a week, about 560 a month and 6720 or pointless, empty words a year (and that’s only one family). Think about how many people say “sorry” to you and how many you say it to. Does it mean anything anymore? Hell no. I’m sure there are other useless words out there (mini diversion?) but the unfeeling, my-sins-are-washed-away-in-the-blink-of-an-eye use of I’m sorry” has rendered it the most acceptable line of bullshit ever. EVER.
Now are there times when I’d like to hear “sorry” from a stranger when, while out in public, I get the walk-past bump thing? Yes, absolutely. But, that is also the time I never hear it or I get the sorry grumble, without so much as a backward glance. Heck, there have been people who full-on smashed into one of my kids because the person wasn’t looking where he was going and/or didn’t realize little people were also allowed to walk on a sidewalk or through a crowded area. Usually said person did nothing or spat out an irritated, huffy “Sorry,” that let me know he thought I should never let my children out of the house again. And right here, right now, let me clarify that I don’t let my kids roam off on their own when we’re out and about. I hold their hands or herd them like the small group of miniature cattle they are. I realize other people don’t want to play dodge-child while they’re walking. But for Jesopus’ sake, have the decency to feel some remorse when you clock my kid in the head with your monster shopping bag or purse.
Forgot to do something you urgently needed to do? “Sorry.” Prescribed medication my daughter was allergic to, even though it was on her chart? “Sorry.” Let the door slam in my face? “Sorry.” Kept talking on the phone even though there was a line of customers at your register? “Sorry.” Left me waiting thirty minutes, sitting on an exam table, wearing a paper robe and staring at a diagrammed uterus? “Sorry.” “Sorry, I can’t do anything to help you.” “Sorry, I’m too stupid to help you figure out why your cable doesn’t work, I’ll have to send a technician (three weeks from tomorrow, sorry!).” “We can’t do that. Sorry.” “You have (insert terminal disease here); I’m so sorry!”
“Sorry” really means: I’m going to say a word that makes me feel better, does nothing to repair the situation, lets me believe I am absolved of any and all responsibility; I can’t be bothered to give a shit anymore — I’m already onto the next thing. “Sorry” means fuck you, stop your whining and get out of my face. “Sorry” has so lost its meaning that people now smile when they say it. How can you feel remorse when you are smiling? That ain’t remorse, that’s letting yourself off the hook with the magic word. Abracadabra, I’m sorry!
The “sorry” has been so mishandled, so unemotionally uttered and so universally recognized and approved that it must be denounced. And so I propose a replacement utterance that captures the true essence of what really is meant when a person says, “Sorry.” An expression so sincere, no one has trouble discerning its emotion and meaning:
That’s right: “You’re fucked.” I forgot to pick up the milk, you’re fucked. Oh, did I just run over your foot with my car? You’re so fucked! We’re not open on Mondays, you’re fucked. Honey, I can’t make it home until late tonight, guess what? You’re fucked. Ladies and gentlemen, due to technical difficulties flight 1022 from New York to Boston is delayed and by the way, you’re fucked. You know, you’re fucked; we don’t carry that car part and it’ll take three days to get it shipped here. What? We lost your package. Oh drat, you’re fucked.
When we free ourselves from the binds of dishonesty, we can begin to respect each other again. We can hold our heads high and truly feel better about ourselves, instead of carrying around the guilt of deception. When we say, “You’re fucked,” we’ll know the admiration of our fellow man, be able to look him right in the eye because we say what we mean, instead of that old, “sorry” sham. Now, what do you say people? Are you ready to stand with me? Shall we abolish “sorry” from the world and let go the hypocrisy of false emotion? Can we all get back to a place of truth and heartfelt honesty? Or am I…fucked?