I’ve been watching far too much TV recently and aside from the emotional blackmail contained in day-time advertisements, I’ve started to hone in on turgid reoccurring statements made primarily by public figures. An expression du jour that’s captured my attention is “I am profoundly sorry.”
This statement appears especially popular when something awful has been enacted, deliberately concealed, underplayed or inappropriately joked about. On a number of occasions the person voicing the profound apology is doing so from a position of power; responsibility by association or role. I’ve been immersed in a sea of profound apologies over a very short period of time and I don’t recall ever experiencing anything quite like this before. Atonement has come in many forms. In response to revelations about the tragic Hillsborough disaster. Following unfathomable child abuse by members of the Irish church. Post drink-drive stupidity. On causing cruelty by dumping a cat in a wheelie bin. MP’s expenses scandals, misleading financial advice, jokes made in poor taste during the US election campaigns.
“There are no excuses for what I did, and I am profoundly sorry.”
“I am profoundly sorry that this double injustice has been left uncorrected for so long.”
“I am deeply ashamed and profoundly sorry for our notorious front page headline.”
“I am profoundly sorry for the way the force failed…..”
“To the extent that I have contributed to the situation, I am profoundly sorry.”
“I wish to reiterate that I am profoundly sorry for my actions……”
“I am profoundly sorry and deeply ashamed that children suffered…..”
“I am profoundly sorry for making an inappropriate and thoughtless joke.”
“This should not have happened and I am profoundly sorry that it did.”
At one level I’m glad people are apologising for these heinous situations, especially when some of the apologies have been a very long time coming. At another level I can’t help thinking “I am profoundly sorry” is the expression du jour. A bandwagon to address past wrongs with a few well-chosen words. Unfortunately words do not adequately make up for these situations and they’re unlikely to hold much comfort for people who have been affected by them.
I suppose “I am profoundly sorry” is a start. I think “I am profoundly sorry and commit to ensure this doesn’t happen again” would be better.
The Eating Evils
My son is a sporty, healthy teenager. He’s much taller than me, has been for years and he’s much, much fitter. He used to rugby-tackle me in the garden when he was 12. If he attempted that now he’d knock me right off my feet. I’ve tried over the years to teach him about the relationship between nutrition and wellness, the basic food groups, healthy and not so healthy choices – for food and life in general. When he went to university I set him up with some easy student recipes and the culinary essentials to put together an edible meal. He didn’t come home with scurvy this summer so some of these teachings seem to have paid off.
At home, I’ve tended to enjoy cooking but I never follow recipes – why follow when you can create? Using a bunch of raw ingredients to rustle up something fresh, delicious and healthy (with the exception of the ever popular Bristol five pepper duck breast followed by raspberry mascarpone cheesecake) has been high on my agenda. Recommended levels of fruit and vegetables made it into most of our meals and I’m pleased to say in spite of recipe rebellion, I’ve never food-poisoned anyone. But at present I can’t cook and if my son was eating the rubbish I’ve been eating lately I’d be very disappointed.
My desire for all things fresh and healthy has been replaced by no appetite at all. I could easily go days, probably weeks without eating. Any appetite I manage to muster is for random, often disgusting concoctions that make Heston Blumenthal look tame. At the less offensive end of the scale there’s jelly. Fruit jelly. Maybe I’m developing a penchant for all things slimey (see fecthis.wordpress.com/2012/10/21/still-loving-life-as-i-slowly-start-to-fall-apart/). I sincerely hope not because I don’t want to fall in love with a politician or anyone from HM Revenue and Customs. Sausages: I’ve always avoided these unless they were of reputable origin, low-fat and gristle-free. I ought to be avoiding them now because I myself am 0.08% pig thanks to this summer’s adventures. I find there are few things more anti-social than cannibalism but if I suddenly crave half a sausage sandwich any hope of social pleasantries is replaced by wanton pork-lust. I know, eating my cousins plumbs the depths of depravity. It’s wrong. But on the rare occasion that I feel hungry I may be unable to resist my porcine relatives. At least it’s not more slime. Ginger: If this was an illegal substance I’d have a habit I couldn’t afford. I don’t care what form it takes – cake, tablet, beer (non alcoholic, alcohol and me don’t see eye to eye these days), chews, bread, pudding, biscuits. Or in it’s purest, most heady form…. crystallised. If I need to eat and the only edible option is ginger then I eat ginger. At least this one has some health benefit unlike the sausage-sandwich-and-jelly-deluxe-combo-meal.
I’m not proud of my unsavoury and frankly disturbing eating habits. I want to eat my normal diet – fresh berries, fruits and nuts. I can’t. I just can’t face them and if I try I regret it for days and have to revert to soda water and flat diet coke. No-one grows up big and strong on that combination! But just in case my son is reading and thinks ‘oh happy days, an end to Mom’s vegetable crusades’ it doesn’t. Somehow I will overcome the eating evils, escape from cauliflower isn’t that easy.