There used to be a TV show on when I was a kid called Happy Days. It was a situation comedy about the olden days of the Fifties. I think was a spin-off from a pre-Star Wars film by George Lucas.
So there was this too cool character that was named Fonzie. He was so cool that even more cool than his slick leather motorcycle jacket and perfectly stacked Brylcreemed hair was his title. The Fonz.
The Fonz was very tough, most excellent with the ladies, respectful to the adults and able to extract music from the jukebox in the diner via a well-placed fist. He was also papally infallible. Seriously. He was damn near perfect.
He was so utterly faultless that his vocabulary could not accommodate words that would conflict with that reality. He physically could not say the word wrong or the word sorry if the words preceding those nouns were I am.
This was difficult for The Fonz, because nobody is actually without sin. It just doesn’t work that way. So when an extremely rare occasion of error or omission occurred, he was unable to use his words to express himself.
And yet somehow, without specifically saying, “I was wrong,” or “I am sorry,” it was clear from the context and his emotion that he was admitting his offense and acknowledging his failure. This was because his character was indeed sorry. Not pretending. But for real.
This is in contrast to the parade of non-apologies, abdication of any responsibility for wrong doing, and contortions of language to obscure any rational admission of fault that I have been listening to over the past week.
Why is it so hard for people to admit that they done effed up, when they, as a matter of fact, effed up? Parsing the meaning of the word “is,” is frankly unacceptable. Sorry about how someone feels isn’t the same as being sorry for what you did. Technicalities, skirting of the truth and sleight of hand is skeevy and inauthentic.
Even if he couldn’t say it directly, you knew exactly what The Fonz was saying. That he was wrrrrrrr… and that he was sssrhrrr… He meant it. Be like The Fonz.