who dat? contest.
(yo stee. i know
first correct answer:
With politics in the air here, what with the DNC coming to town, I've been thinking about government a little more than usual, which is to say maybe once a day, if that. Anyway, I've been realizing, with all the sad stuff of the Republican convention, the focusing on restoring integrity to Washington (since there is nothing for people to bitch about as everything is going pretty darn well), the thing that annoys me most about politicians is the lack of responsibility. Accepting responsibility for a mistake, even a perceived mistake like smoking weed, is political suicide. I don't know why, it just is. Personally, if Clinton had just said: yup, fucked her - it was great, but wrong of me, I would have loved him even more. If Bush Jr. said, "Yeah, I'm a rich boy and did tons of blow and partied constantly until I turned 40," I wouldn't like him but I certainly would respect him a bit more than I do with his weaseling and squirming around the question. Other countries are mortified at the way we delve into the personal affairs of politicians, and I am as well. But when things do come out, I wish someone would have the balls to admit it. Most everyone in America would forgive a little weed smoking, or a little hanky-panky. There is evidence to support that. People give the public no credit, but then, the public should probably give the politicians no credit when they have the politicians' fingers wagged at them and are lied to.
This has gotten me thinking about this issue of personal responsibility, and I have been thinking about it in terms of hurting others. Now, a little pot smoking hurts no one. And thus, I think one should just admit it if forced to, but not necessarily apologize for it. There is nothing wrong with that. There is no victim. Just admit it. But that is so rarely the case. In truth, I don't understand why people have a problem with saying "I'm sorry." With acknowledging when they have hurt someone else or treated someone else in a manner deserving of an apology. Something happened yesterday that serves as a good example.
A while ago, a guy here in my building came to me because he knew I was a screenwriter. He had an idea for a script that he pitched to someone a few years back. He recently found out this very same guy sold a script based on the very same idea, and naturally the guy was refusing to give this guy any credit. So he asked me if I knew any way to get my hands on a copy of the script. And for this he was willing to pay 100 bucks. I mostly felt bad for the guy as it sounded credible, but sure, extra money is always nice, so I asked a friend in the business if she could find it and we could then split the money. She did, at considerable risk (the fact that it is already in production makes it a lot more difficult to procure). I told him she found it. He was very excited. Then the next day, yesterday, he emailed me that he checked with a friend and he'd just gotten the script too, so thanks anyway. So I told him that I risked pissing a friend off and that she went to a lot of trouble, etc. He wrote sort of a snotty email back. Now technically, I told him I got it first, so he should have given me the money. But in all honesty, that wasn't what bothered me. I really didn't care about the money. It was the fact that I had gotten someone else involved, that I did it mostly because I felt bad for him and wanted to try to help - and I told him this. He responded that this was never a favor but a business deal blah blah blah. I just said, "Wow. Fine." And here's what I realized I wanted - exactly what I said to my friend who went through all this trouble: "I'm sorry." Very simple. Very simple. But this guy just refused. I don't know what it would take away from him. Now I have been known to apologize too much. I recognize that in myself and have made a conscious effort to stop, and only do it when I really mean it and feel like it is necessary and right. But it really doesn't hurt as much as some people think it does to say. It doesn't lessen your experience or suddenly turn you into a sniveling, afraid-of-taking-a-risk person. It turns you into a feeling, thoughtful person who recognizes that you hurt someone, or put someone out, and are big enough to say a few little words that ultimately will benefit them (they'll feel respected and cared about) and you (they won't be as mad at you and think you're a fucking dickhead and never ever want to do anything for you again as long as you know them.) See? Easy, yes? No?
I mean, even the Fonz could say "I'm sorry." Well, after a few stuttered attempts.
I regret things. I do. I would love to say I have no regrets... in fact, I could. I could say it. I would just be lying. I regret not knowing my father better before he died. I was too mad and afraid to get to know him better and then it was suddenly, horribly, too late. I regret breaking someone's heart very thoughtlessly. I regret not visiting my grandma in the hospital. I regret that I didn't try even harder to make my last relationship work. Now, I know that I did or didn't do those things for very valid reasons - often ones that simply were protecting myself and my feelings and were the coping mechanisms I needed to have employed at that time blah blah blah. But I would change them if I could. It does me no good to barrel through life paying no attention to those I hurt or those I trample over in my quest to, whatever... to win, to grow, to learn. You can be a fucking bad-ass and still acknowledge your mistakes. I guarantee you can. You can even attempt to right those wrongs. It doesn't hurt that much. Confrontation is sometimes good.
And really, you should consider yourself lucky to have the opportunity to make amends. (I'll never be able to make the sort of peace I wanted to with my dad - to get to know him.) I had a friend who I was really close with. One day a few years back, he decided he didn't want to be my friend anymore. He simply one day stopped calling me or returning my phone calls. I was floored. I had no idea what I had done. I allowed for the fact that maybe it was nothing and he was just sick of me, but maybe I did do something of which I wasn't aware. So I called and wrote, asking what the fuck was up. He never responded. I was willing to listen to some horrible wrong I had done him and try to make amends, because I care. Cared. I haven't spoken to him in years and still miss him. I'm horribly mad at him and don't think I'd ever forgive him for disappearing at this point - but I wish he had confronted me with the wrong I had done to him before choosing to no longer be my friend.
And there are people who not only do not apologize or make amends, but acknowledge the hurt, and continue to do it anyway because in changing their actions they feel they would be giving up some freedom or autonomy. This I also do not understand. If you care about someone, and you are hurting someone, stop. To just say, "Yeah, I'll probably continue to hurt you but at least I'm aware of it," is bullshit. But then again the wronged also have a part in it. If you accept a continuous wrong, you no longer can bitch about being wronged. You've accepted it, and next time it happens, well, in a way that's sorta just too bad, isn't it.
And of course there needs to be a balance here. Of course. A certain amount of "well, it's what I did and too bad for the rest of y'all," is good. It's bad to sit around kicking yourself for the numerous mistakes you've made for too long. And conversely, it's not good to just leave someone at the first sign of selfish, thoughtless behavior. There's always a balance - but I think sometimes we err on the wrong side.
What's my point here? I think it comes down to something about just being good to other people. Especially the people you care about. And also acknowledging when you're no longer being cared for. Knowing your limits, as my friend ostensibly did - though without then giving me a chance prove my words about being big enough to apologize. I think I could have, no matter how petty I might have thought his grievance, because, and this is very important: He Felt Bad. Maybe I would have thought he was being too sensitive, but if I cared, I would have been bothered that my actions, no matter how defensible, were hurting him. And I would have done what I could to stop. Isn't that what friends do? Isn't that what lovers do? Isn't it?
"Oh but stee, you're supposed to be funny and shit." I know, I apologize. I'm really very... oh lick me.
Why can't a man stand alone? Must he be burdened by all that he's taught to consider his own? His skin and his station, his kin and his crown. His flag and his nation, they just weigh him down. You know pride is a sin that we tend to forgive, but it gets hard to live, when you don't have the love in your heart to begin with. Why can't a man stand alone? Why can't a woman be just what she seems? Must she be tarnished by men who can only be men in their dreams? When beauty meets ignorance they shout in the street, repeating their offer to each girl they meet. The respect that she needs, it isn't a gift, but it gets hard to lift yourself up, when you don't have the strength to begin with. Why can't a woman stand alone? Why can't a baby sleep at night and dream of the time to come? And never fear the world outside the touch of someone very near? Why can't a man stand up? Why can't a man stand alone? ... speaking of which. Why can't I stand up? Wait. What's going on here? I could get up just fine yesterday. I was playing tennis yesterday. I danced yesterday, for a little bit in front of my mirror when that catchy song by Fastball came on the radio. Oh my god, I can't get up! I'm too old to get up! Oh my god! Why did this have to- Hey, what are Regis and Dick Clark doing in my room laughing? What? Oh, you guys strapped me to my chair when I fell asleep? Oh, ha ha. Very funny boys. Very funny. (Thank god.)
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