Thursday, February 22, 2007

Sorry doesn't seem to be the hardest word to me

I'm sorry.

No really, I'm very sorry.

Very, very sorry.

Extremely sorry.

Did I mention just how sorry I was?

C'mon, I said I was sorry. What more do you want from me?

I've never been very good at accepting apologies. Especially from those who are closest to me; the word "Sorry" just seems so meaningless sometimes. It's just a word. It doesn't make up for any wrong doing. And if you hear it enough the words just seem to melt together. Soon enough it's like listening to the adults on a Peanuts cartoon.

Wah wah wah wah wah waaaahhhh wahwahwah wah wah waaaahhh wah.

There are certain situations when the words "I'm sorry" will suffice: You're a few minutes late to a meeting or a scheduled lunch date with a friend, for instance, or when a strange person bumps into you in a crowded shop or restaurant. Then, not only will it suffice, to me the apology is mandatory. It's polite, and without that common courtesy we'd be nothing more than a mob of animals. Or French or German tourists.

(Seriously, what is it with the French and Germans and waiting in line? Or, should I say, Not waiting in line.)

For me, however, a simple sorry just doesn't cut it for major infractions. Let's say your husband forgets to order oil for the second time in two years, leaving you and your child without heat on a very cold winter day. That's one instance that leaps to mind. Or when someone dumps an entire caramel latte all over the front of your new cashmere sweater. Or your dog takes a huge dump on my lawn. In these cases don't tell me you're sorry, do something about it.

Show me how sorry you are by making up for it.

I admit I'm tough on people who expect me to forgive them for their transgressions, but the word "Sorry" seems to have been overused and, therefore, has lost most of its meaning. For instance:

You know those times when I said I didn't sleep with my intern? Well, I did. Oops. Sorry!

I had sex in my car with a prostitute. My bad. Bloody sorry mates!

I got drunk and threw around some anti-Semitic slurs. Sorry! (But I'm not sorry for calling that officer Sugar Tits. Yowza.)

Did I say we were more popular than Jesus? I take it back. Sorry!

Okay! So I called some guys the N word! Whaddya want me to do? Say I'm sorry? Okay, I'm sorry!

These days if you're a celebrity who has screwed up all you need to do is book a date on a late night talk show or call a press conference, muster up your best shamefaced look and apologize. Preferably with a tear or two. And more than likely the public will let you off the hook. Except for you, Janet Jackson. The horror! We saw your boob! The public will never let you live that down.

Sure, public humiliation is a form of retribution. But when it comes down to it anyone can say they're sorry while their fingers are crossed behind their backs.

Seriously, how many times has Ted Turner apologized in his life?

How many "I'm sorrys" do we need to hear before the words totally lose their meaning for everyone? Even those, unlike me, who still believe there is good in people?

I was happy to hear that Jet Blue was compensating the customers who were stranded in their snowstorm clusterfuck debacle. But is that enough? What about the money spent on family trips that were missed? How much retribution is enough of an apology? And does everyone need compensation, financial or otherwise, to make up for these types of slights?

What is enough of an apology for you? Are words enough? Small gifts? Sexual favors? Monetary compensation? What helps you to forgive someone?


Two things that are totally unrelated:

- Blogher announced the venue for this year's conference. Anyone want to shack up? Email me if you're interested. Chicky Chicky Baby at Hotmail dot Com

- Also, I'm looking for graphics work (business cards, pamphlets, possibly a website, definitely a logo) for a possible new business for me (Squeeeeeeeee!), but I have limited resources. I guess what I'm trying to get at is I need graphics work, cheap. I don't want to sink too much money into this venture until I've got it up and running somewhat smoothly. If you know of anyone, again, email me. Chicky Chicky Baby at Hotmail dot Com

Thank you, dear and wise internets, in advance.


Julie Pippert said...

Chicky, first, go check out elance. Put in your budget and get bids.

Second, sorry doesn't seem to be enough for celebs these days. They check into Anger Management or Bad Manners spas, I meant rehab clinics.

Like Isaiah Washington.

I just heard a "news" story about how this is the latest trend.

I tell you, the number of times I hear "celebrity" and "trend" together was enough to convince to not pursue that drama hobby.

Anonymous said...

My big line is "Sorry doesn't butter the biscuit"...and it really is so true.

Hums said...

I never know what to say when someone says, "I'm sorry."
What are you suppose to respond with?? It's Okay.? Well it's not, that's why I'm upset in the first place. I usually just end up looking at them. And I wonder why I'm considered a Bitch...

Hums said...

Ohhh, did I say Bitch!?

Avalon said...

The only time "sorry" is acceptable for bad behavior is when it's said by a person under the age of 10. After that, it's a bullshit excuse for being caught.

Sorry if that offends anyone {{NOT}}

Redneck Mommy said...

I love that Elton song. I blare it on the stereo whenever the kids start to fight, hoping they will get the message.

They don't.

If someone screws up (me included) I expect action. Not just the trite "Sorry."

Unless you are two. Then I expect a "sow-wee". And a goobery kiss.

Queen of the Mayhem said...

I'm with you on this post! Words mean very little to me....ESPECIALLY when they are not backed up with actions! On the flip side, I have the MOST difficult time actually uttering those words. I would rather take a beating than break down and say, "I'm sorry", to someone I love.

Sounds like I need therapy! :)

Jenni said...

I completely agree! "So sorry" is offered nowadays in the same manner as "I'm just saying" which means absolutely nothing.

When I really am sorry for something, I usually ask for forgiveness as well. Unfortunately, these are usually directed at hubby who is definitely a less-talk-more-action kind of guy. So I actually have to change......I hate that.

Sparky Duck said...

im a sucker, I take sorry and forget about it mostly. Makes me wonder why I feel walked all over sometimes

Ms. Huis Herself said...

When I taught at a school that used the Responsive Classroom theories/method for classroom management, we often ended up using/facilitating realistic, related consequences for actions. For example, "you break it; you fix it" or loss of priviledge for misuse, etc. Because just saying/hearing "sorry" doesn't necessarily cut it, we often encouraged "apologies of action." Making a sorry card or inviting an excluded child to play or something else that ACTIVELY made a difference made more of an impact of the transgressor and let the transgressee feel like restitution had been made.

(Ok, that was long, but even 5, 6 & 7 year olds can tell when someone just tosses off a meaningless "Sorry!" and isn't satisfied with it either. On the other hand, a sincere apology CAN smooth things out sometimes.)

Amie Adams said...

Yeah, I want action with words.

On BlogHer. I was considering attending. Have you been? Is it worth it? As a newbie, I'd be interested to know...

Ruth Dynamite said...

Whatever you do, just say "sorry" and then check into rehab, regardless of whether or not you're addicted to anything. That's my back-up plan, just in case.

Not sure if I'm going to BlogHer yet...

Anonymous said...

It depends on the transgression. And whether someone really and truly didn't mean to do what they did (and were taking adequate precautions NOT to), or if they were just screwing around (not literally) and being careless.

The sweater? Pay the dry-cleaning bill.

The dump? Carry a plastic bag like everyone else, for god's sake.

The oil? Payback will take YEARS. Just sayin'.

But YAY! Mrs. Chicky is going to BlogHer! YAY!!!

(I can't cheat on Mayberry Mom, otherwise I'd happily share a room with you.)

OhTheJoys said...

Blogher is during the two week break during the summer that my daycare program takes.

What I need is someone to craft the arguement that convinces my husband that he should take a few days off work to care for the children while I jet off to Chicago for a few days...

Who has ideas on that?

amyerj said...

I'm an Official Sorry Sister. Say it way too much - guess we can't be friends.

I'm sorry.

SUEB0B said...

It depends on what kind of life you want. You can hold onto anger or let it go. It is your choice. I usually find that holding on isn't doing me any good.

Mitch McDad said...

I did 1,2 and 4 on you sorry list. Who told you?

Anonymous said...

I will say there are times when "I'm sorry" is truly meant and received. Like when my husband doesn't realize he hurt my feelings, and honestly never meant to. I accept. that.

But celebrities? Um, no. It's all PR. Bah!

Unknown said...

Unfortunately, I'm sorry for everything, including taking a moment to tell you what I'm thinking right now. My daughter is way more sorry than I am which leaves our conversations something like this, "Oops, sorry." - "Why are you sorry, I'm sorry." - "But I. . ." you get the idea. We probably waste a total of thirty minutes each day arguing about who's sorriest.

But you will never hear us say, "Sorry 'bout that." or my mom would slap us. This is her pet peeve. It sounds so flippant: like the words are simply being said because they're required but not truly felt in the heart.

I feel bad if someone tells me they're sorry. Like it's my fault they let me down. I don't put a lot of stock in the words. I wanna see actions. Show me you're sorry by cleaning the toilet for me. Show me you mean it by never, ever doing it again.

Radioactive Tori said...

This is exactly why I m having such a hard time forgiving my husband for being so absent when I had cancer. He has apologized, but I keep telling him those are just words. He needs to show me he is sorry. I can't tell him how to do that because I don't know, but some effort would be nice!

Good luck with your new business. I can't wait until you tell us what it is.

ewe are here said...

I hear you on the 'sorrys'; they really can drive you bonkers.

For accidental encounters, 'sorry' is not only an acceptable fix, but expected. And I'm somewhat of a klutz these days due to big pregnant belly, so I make sure I apologize when I accidentally bump into someone or walk too slowly in a crowded area. For deliberate poor behavior, though, a flip 'sorry' is not going to cut it generally. Even little kids can tell when someone doesn't mean it! Otherwise, why would they have behaved so poorly in the first place?!

Blogher sounds like fun. Sadly... not likely I'll be there. Maybe someday.

metro mama said...

I'm happy when the person acknowledges that what they did was wrong. Flowers with an apology sure help too!

Anonymous said...

I agree, the word sorry is definitely underrated. SHOW me don't tell me.

Anonymous said...

Oh, you're making me feel like a little child again! When I'd say sorry to my mom, she'd say "that is NOT enough" or "that doesn't fix it!" I dreaded saying sorry to her!!! She was definitely in the camp of DO SOMETHING to make up for it.

Generally, sorry is enough for me b/c I know for some (myself, included) it takes a lot of courage to step up and say sorry. But I get that for others, it's the easy way out. A nice gesture with the sorry is good - perhaps a hug, a bottle of wine, a nice dinner out :-)

Mama en Fuego said...

Sorry just doesn't cut it anymore. You're spot on in that it's over used. Sorry is supposed to mean I screwed up and I won't do it again. But we all know that isn't true, you'll do it again and you'll say sorry AGAIN and it will be just as meaningless that time too.

It's bullcrap.

Kate said...

I'm still blown away that they have a conference for bloggers. I'm supposed to knee-deep in the middle of a training project that I don't know whether it could be taking place in Chicago at the same time. Can't bunk, but wow, it would be great to meet all the bloggers!

As for website design - have you checked out elance? Haevn't read through all your comments, so maybe someone already suggested that.

Irreverent Antisocial Intellectual said...

I don't forgive. I hold grudges. It works for me :-)
If it's an insincere apology, then we're through. No second chances. I'm hardcore like that.

kittenpie said...

Yeah, I'm teaching Pumpkinpie that you need to say sorry and give a kiss, but I'm trying to figure out what else, because sometimes that's too easy.

You know, I'm not sure, but might do design work outisde of templates, and she's pretty reasonable.

Wish I could go to BlogHer, but I don't think I can justify it, even though I will be purple with envy over the fun the rest of you girls will be having. Crap.

mo-wo said...

My husband is a sorry expert.
I am a sorry skeptic.

Talk is cheap. I waited a long time to use sorry with Miss Fancy. Wish I never had really. She doesn't get it. To be honest neither do I.

Do unto others -- and full stop!