The Wonderings of Jack Coving - Sorry

My friends, how wonderful it is to converse with you again, I am assuming you are yet again hungry for a rant? Very good. I came prepared this time; A fresh bottle of Midleton rare  and these smooth hamlet cigars. Let us get comfortable and entwined as we step into the world of my wonderings.


Sorry has become a word that gets thrown around far too comfortably.

Sorry is supposed to have meaning; it’s supposed to be hard to say. Sorry is about sincere inner reflections of your own behaviours and admitting definitive fault. It is about baring your soul and throwing yourself at another’s mercy.

People will, without thinking, spew out a meaningless apology to simply defuse a situation. Nothing is truly resolved; only swept aside for later resentments to boil over. As the recipient of an apology, you are simply expected to forgive the other, regardless of how lame their use of sorry is; it would be considered impolite not to forgive.

I still remember the day I decided to stop forgiving insincere apologies. As a believer of owning up to my mistakes and offering heartfelt, genuine admissions, I got sick of people’s conceded sorries and said “Fuck the lot of ya.”

Back when I was writing the politics columns, I was doing a piece on the lack government funding in after school programs. My wagon of a neighbour, Eileen, had a very charming daughter who happened to be involved in the running of a local youth centre. She offered her assistance on the article and I happily agreed but had an issue emailing the document to her to her so I opted to send it to Eileen instead.

Eileen told me she’d pass it on before telling me how “bloody brilliant” it was; however, she carried on to inform me that I had made some grammatical errors and she wold be more than happly to edit my piece.

stared at my screen for a moment, flabbergasted, before a huge grin spread across my face; this woman clearly didn’t know how the writing process worked. In my reply, I kindly thanked her for her praise and politely explained how the article was a first draft and was yet to be edited. I explained how her help would be unnecessary but appreciated her enthusiasm. Thinking that resolved the matter, I chuckled to myself as I closed down the screen.

The following day, I received a response that quickly took the situation from hysterical to horrific. It seemed the frumpy old bag decided to ignore my refusal of her help and took it upon herself to copy and paste my work into her reply and make changes to it
I’m so glad you said it was a first draft… it needs a lot of tidying…my changes are in italics.
I felt violated, shocked, angry. The audacity of this silly little woman!

In my response I remained civil but made it very clear that she had overstepped the line. I explained that by ignoring my refusal of her help, she had offended me immensely.

If I thought I had been angry before, it was nothing compared the fury that surged through me as I read her reply.

I am sorry if you think I was interfering…and I apologise if you got the wrong idea What?!

What the fuck is that drivel supposed to mean?

First of all; don’t apologise for what I think. If my thoughts are worth apologising for, I’ll handle that. In fact, I don’t feel wrong for thinking that you are an interfering old cunt so an apology for that isn’t necessary.

Secondly; I got the wrong idea? I don’t even know where to begin dissecting this; the stupidity is overbearing, or is that ignorance? The only idea that I got was carefully formulated as a result of the facts of the situation:

  •           I gave you the benefit of the doubt and treated you with respect.
  •           You chose to ignore my request.
  •           I have been offended.

There is no underlying, mystery; you acted like an ignorant cow.

Feeling as though trying to explain this to her would be a waste of my existence, I chose not to reply to her self-indulgent apology.

The longing for my forgiveness was too much for old Eileen, so the following day she sent me another email, trying to justify her blatant ignorance by explaining that because she is such a wonderful person she tends to get carried away; topping it off with a glittering emoticon.

I couldn’t remain silent; I responded with fury and explained to her why I thought her apology was shallow and would not accept it.

Do you know what happened then? She got offended.

I am not obliged to forgive, just as she is not obliged to apologise. These are choices we must make.

If you go in with an authentic apology, you must understand that there is a risk that you may not be forgiven. 

If you say sorry without the fear of rejection; with a guarantee of forgiveness at the other end, why bother being sincere at all?

That’s the dead giveaway; if somebody humbly accepts rejection with grace, they are being sincere in their apology. If they respond with anger; they are pissed that they can’t immediately resolve the situation.

Sorry and forgiveness are two very powerful forces but if we become too blasé with their use, we become too blasé with each other. From now on let’s be more cautious and aware. Let’s truly dig deep when it comes time to apologise and let’s not be too quick to accept the empty sorries.

That's all for now my friends, I will try to save some of this delectable whiskey for your next visit, but I can make no promises. Until then, farewell.

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© Sarah O’Regan
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