Now there’s a funny kinda title eh? Two completely functional ideas that seem to go so poorly together…hence I split them. But…
“I’m sorry”. Interesting concept ain’t it; I feel sorrow for something. Whether I did it, it just happened, or you did it, I feel sorrow that it happened. Or that I felt a way that I felt, said something that snuck through the non-existent filter in my brain, or brought about some kind of genuine sorrow. Interesting though; feeling sorrow doesn’t make it my fault now does it?
For instance: Let’s say I step on your foot while reaching for the Tasty Puffs at the grocery store. Once I’ve retrieved my size 12 from the top of your sneaker I’ll utter “Oh hey, so sorry”. You’ll naturally look my way with a pleasant kinda smile and say “hey, no problem”. That’s the ‘I’m sorry’ contract between humans; the acknowledgement that I made a boo-boo, and your acknowledgement that my brief sorrow has made up for said boo-boo. But what if some other person, while reaching for the family sized jar of Jiffy peanut butter, steps on my daughter’s foot. Am I obliged to give her a “hey, I’m sorry Two Ton Tessy over there pounded on your big toe”? And if I do, certainly she feels no obligation to give me the “hey, it’s no biggie”.
And sorry can be big too…”hey, I’ve decided you’re a complete jerk and I’d like to never speak to you again” is a lot different than “hey, sorry to bother you but can you pass the mustard”. One will get you a “no problem”, while the other might get you punched in the nose, or a half hour of yelling while tears stream.
The point of this exercise though; that being sorry for having done/said something wrong is held in such great taboo in this country. To feel sorrow because YOU did/said something implies to some extent that you are fallible. You are at fault. You made a mistake. You’re not perfect. You don’t know everything.
I often think of Galileo. When he spotted that the moons of Jupiter revolve around Jupiter, and not the Center of the Universe (Earth by Catholic standards), he must have felt like he’d taken humankind forward by a leap. You can only imagine him running around with his telescope and having folks peer upwards (think of some idiot who’s always saying “look at this” while holding their cellphone up to your face) and chart with their eyes the movements of what we now call the Galileo Moons. And his racing to the powers of the day, only to find out that the Catholic Church was certainly not interested in finding out that they were wrong. Wrong. They’d been teaching for centuries that everything revolved around the Big Blue planet; now some dude with a flimsy telescope was gonna prove ’em wrong! And if he proved them wrong about this, did it create a situation where all the times they’d been right came under scrutiny? Oh hell no; they couldn’t be wrong about this one little thing because to acknowledge so would have put the whole of the Catholic teachings under the microscope. And that could change the balance of power, which was in some ways is mandated by the side that was always right.
And now back to “I’m sorry”. Or even better, “I was wrong”. Or the ever unpopular “I’m sorry, I was wrong”. It works so well in a good ole tear jerking country song, but the reality is that to say “I’m sorry, I was wrong” seems completely painful to most of us. In truth, it certainly did for me. Relationships were founded on the principle that I was always right, and any inclination that the basis for the relationship might be in jeopardy put the relationship in peril. To be wrong was most assuredly out of the question, and any thoughts that I’d be sorry for any decisions/actions/feeling I exhibited was an idea that got banished to the far reaches of Siberia. Oh yes…like most of us humans with penis’s I intended to be the always right leader who ruled with an iron fist and harsh words.
And then it dawned on me…I was an ogre. No one else in my house/realm/world was allowed to have opinions unless they concurred completely with mine. If they differed…they were wrong, because only being always right gave me the power, and the power ladies and gentlemen is where it’s at ain’t it? I paid the bills. I fixed the toilet when it leaked. I mowed the grass, shoveled the snow, fought off large spiders that gained entry into our home.
I was the leader, which I equated with always being right.
But the reality is that I’m quite fallible. I screw-up dozens of times a day, and finding a way to firmly place blame on someone else doesn’t change the fact that I was the one who’d ultimately put my foot in it. I (and only in recent years have I begun to truly realize this) sometimes have no earthly idea what I’m doing! Sometimes…yes…other folks have better ideas? Sometimes other folks breathing on my beautiful planet have feelings I just can’t seem to conjure up, and don’t have the same feelings I have when the lost puppy gets found.
I read a book called “Lead, For God’s Sake”. If you haven’t read it yet, find a copy, get a coffee, and settle on in. It’s not preachy, and you won’t feel like a complete ogre when your done. What you will realize is that being wrong creates a world you’ll wanna be living in. Having a gentle and kind disposition allows other to feel compelled, to feel free. Empowered. So instead of raising a house of people who zombie around feeling only the feelings you have, and expressing themselves only in ways you find acceptable, you’ll have a house of free-thinkers that’ll drive you crazy, but in that craziness you’ll find a peace. You’ll be creating free-thinking human beings who can go forward with the knowledge of what it’s like to the right…or at least right with themselves.
Have you ever thought…no…bad sentence. Let’s start again. I used to think I was always wrong. No matter what I did I should have done the opposite, and had I been a human with some sort of a brain I would have chosen easily the better course. But I hadn’t. Because quite simply: if someone else is always right, then you are always wrong. And being always wrong brings about psychological issues that’ll keep a therapist in the newest Cadillac for a lifetime. It’s the kind of enigma that fills prison cells with inmates, and homeless shelters. It’s the kid in the back of the class that won’t speak up, or the geek gettin’ bullied out of their lunch money daily. It’s the family that loves it when the “bossy” parent works a lot, and comes home ready to shower and bed down. It’s dysfunction predicated completely on the Balance of Power, and the continuation of that power.
Saying “I’m sorry, I was wrong” won’t change the world. Understanding and compassion may well do that, along with food, clothing, and medications. But it will change your world. Allowing others to be right is maybe the greatest gift you can give; and if all it takes is you acknowledging that you were wrong? That you saw it from the wrong perspective? That you made a decision based on an emotion? That you’re fallible.
That moons can revolve around a planet…
I hate the expression “I Love You”! Yes, I’m putting myself at risk of being drawn and quartered here…I realize that. We have to holidays (Sweetest Day/Valentines Day) based on love. The most used word in music titles is Love. The truest human emotion to most folks is the idea of love, yet I have no idea what the word truly means.
Hear me out. I love butterscotch on ice cream, the way the sun makes the sky red at twilight, and my wife. And yet these three things are very different. I also love strawberries on my ice cream, the greenness of the grass after it rains, and some chick I been foolin’ around with on the slide? (Not really, just for comparisons sake you’all)
And yet someone eventually says it. In a relationship that is: someone is gonna launch that red-tipped rocket into the verbal air (usually after a bedtime trist), and the other party is now forced to equate their feeling for this person with their emotions at having chocolate on their ice cream, a good thunderstorm, or the feeling they get when a really good song comes on the radio. And they have to decide; is it similar to having an onion on their ice cream, mud on their pants after the thunderstorm, or horrible sex in the back of a trash truck.
Which emotion is it Sparky?
Is it the “love” that:
1) Go to work daily.
2) Clean the house.
3. Scoop up doggie-pooh when it’s been a while since anybody let ’em out.
4) Cook you lasagna.
5) Record your favorite television show.
6) Wipe your butt after the “incident” that broke both your arms.
7) Text you every two hours to let you know they “love u”.
8) Calls your mom “mom” and your papa “papa”.
9) Helps the kids with homework, and pre-soaks the stains on your jeans.
10. Still sleeps with you when you eat cabbage and have been a little constipated.
Or the “love” that makes a partner:
1) Stop working because you love them and therefore will take care of them?
2) Discontinue the art of cleaning because its not really all that dirty.
3) Let the doogie-pooh sit until it’s that grey dusty stuff because it stops smelling after a day or so.
4) Warms up left-over ramen noodles when you get home.
5) Thinks you really outta watch “Daisy and the Glorious Weekend” because football causes concussions.
6) Giggles when you ask who’s gonna wipe your butt after the broken arm incident.
7) Texts you to remind that the electric bills due, her Mama’s coming over tonight, and lets you know to pick up pizza because they really don’t feel like cooking.
8) Thinks your Mama’s a real bitch, and hasn’t talked to your Pa in ten years.
9) Tells ya to pick up a new pair of jeans, and shows the kids a site on U-Tube to help with their homework.
10) Hits the couch for the night when you mentioned having a little coleslaw on your hot dog at lunch.
“And if you love me you’ll understand.”
The “and if” part of love is the part that gets my blood boiling every time. The ‘and if” makes you buys cars out of your price range, own chihuahua’s, enroll your daughter in ballet, enroll your son in ballet, give up baseball/football/drinking/darts/farting in public/really cool handshakes/onions/that trip to Branson/nose hair/a rusty truck/ole underwear/comfortable jeans/James Bond movies/that really groovy trick where you can make you nipples dance opposite each other/scotch/your best friend Earl.
So, I have an idea. Henceforth and from now on:
LOVE HAS TO COME WITH TWO WORDS!!!!!!!!
These words can be before love, after it, or it can place love in a “meaning” sandwich. Yes, let’s play with this…
- Great Sex Love (If you can’t figure this one out please see “I’m Stupido Lovo”).
- Cuddle Bunny Love (You’re kinda like the gay partner, only you get to pay for everything).
- Love Seeing You (Because my life is so meaningless I can’t breathe, fart, or digest food without you).
- Love Potion 9 (Strap it on Gertrude, you ’bouta go for a ride).
- Broken Sink Love (I just wanna see you butt crack whilst you fix it).
- I’m Stupido Lovo (The shocking surprise to everyone is that I found some else who can at least fake loving me as well as you. I’m destined to have forty-seven cats and be on ‘Hoarders’ eventually).
- Dysfunctional Love Kinda (I can vary between loving and hating you so fast…and many times it has no bearing on your level of love for me. I blame it on hormones mostly, but you’re gonna either need a large box of condoms or a set of eight ounce boxing gloves for tonight. Your guess is good as mine Snuckums…).
- Rub My Love (I’m feeling like a cat that done found the catnip salt shaker. Feet, calves, thighs, back, shoulders…then repeat).
- Love Me Back (I’m completely dependent on this relationship, and just because I met you ten minutes ago in the self checkout lane at Walmart doesn’t change that. I’ve been waiting my whole life for you…).
- Meet My Love (Yes, meet my twelve ex-boyfriends, and my Mama, and Papa, and sister Charleen, and cousin Jeffrey (who’s in a wheelchair since the Black Friday at J. C. Penney accostation), and Reverend Talbert Hurter, and my dogs Rex, Charles, Spot, Bartholomew, and Snoopy. And kitty Maltese, Dominic, and Yvonne. And my curling iron, and ashtray, and turd I forgot to flush down the toilet, and hair ball in the shower drain, and leftovers in the fridge ’cause I love to cook).
I believe the initial party in the “I love You” conversation has an obligation to begin living, at that moment, with the object of their fondest affections. Yupper, just move some of your shit on in and begin the process of finding fault until the friggin’ “love” bug passes. First time he Crop Dusts you after a heavy meal complete with refried beans outta just about do it…or when you see the inexpensive toupee his toilet purchased just behind the rim. When you realize his shower has no soap, his milk is considered a solid, and he eats Count Chocula because that’s what Mama used to get ’em. Man oh man but won’t the vaginal fluids dry up like a small oasis in the Sahara after the dry season.
Hows about we go to “I miss you”? I like that one a whole lot better, and it’s not quite so free to take on its very own meaning. I guess you could miss them to various degrees, but at least when you don’t miss them anymore there’s none of that “falling outta missing” bullshit.