Maggie Van Ostrand
public is certainly getting more than its fair share of apologies
lately. Some say today's celebs are following the lead of Bill Clinton
who didn't exactly apologize for not having sex with "that woman."
And it wasn't his first time at bat.
Even before that, on a recording of Bill Clinton's conversation with
Gennifer Flowers he was heard saying that then-New York Governor Mario
Cuomo "acts like" a Mafioso." First, Clinton denied it was his voice
on the tapes, then he sent Cuomo a letter of apology, suggesting that,
if elected, he might appoint Cuomo to the Supreme Court. Twice elected
president, he never named Cuomo to the court. Mel Gibson also has
flowers of apology.
Today Mel Gibson is apologizing and sending big flowers to a female
officer, one of the cops who arrested him on a DUI. Apparently, her
ire was raised when Mel allegedly called one of her body parts a sweet
name. Mel also apologized to the male cops, but neglected to send
flowers. He then apologized profusely by phone to Hollywood biggies
for calling them names not in keeping with Christian beliefs. Seems
as though everybody's still mad at Mel, even though he's trying to
mend fences almost as hard as Tom Cruise.
Tom surreptitiously drove to the home of Brooke Shields to make a
"heartfelt apology" for having said publicly that her post partum
depression was exaggerated, if not totally untrue, based on his religious
non-belief in psychiatrists and anti-depressants. He must've been
better than Mel at saying he's sorry because Brooke Shields told Jay
Leno "... and through it all, I was so impressed with how heartfelt
[Cruise's apology] was, and I didn't feel at any time that I had to
defend myself, nor did I feel that he was trying to convince me of
anything other than the fact that he was deeply sorry. And I accepted
it." In good faith, she probably also apologized to Tom for being
so much taller.
History should pay attention to Clinton, Gibson and Cruise. What if
Grant and Lee had just apologized to each other at the beginning?
We could've bypassed the Civil War and it wouldn't be unlawful today
to fly the Confederate flag. Besides, kids would have shorter history
lessons to memorize.
What if McDonald's had just told 79-year-old Stella Liebeck they were
really sorry she burned herself when she placed a hot cup of their
coffee between her knees? They could've saved half a million dollars.
That's a hefty portion of the $1.3 million sale of coffee they make
every single day.
In 2000, the Pope apologized for all past sins of the Roman Catholic
Church. I would've been happier if he had just had Sister Andrea call
me up and say she was sorry for knocking my knuckles back at Sacred
Heart in New York.
President Bush ought to apologize to the American people for mangling
the word "nuclear" even though he married a school teacher. I suppose
we could tell our children he's not very good at words, right after
we tell them President Clinton's not very good at oaths.
Speaking of President Bush, there's a thriving business directed toward
tourists traveling abroad. It's the manufacture of the "American Apology
Shirt" that says, "I'm sorry my president's an idiot."
The President of Harvard apologized to women everywhere for sort of
saying he thought women in science were less capable than men. He
said nothing, however, about science's findings that the brain of
a woman is smaller than that of a man. He must have assumed science
was referring to head size.
Apologies are extremely important in America today proven by the fact
that, in capital crimes, the jury can find the defendant guilty because
"He didn't show remorse." One man was so broken up over his crime
that the jury didn't even want to acknowledge his confession.
There are quite a few online websites devoted to anonymous confessions.
This would presumably alleviate the need to apologize, since whining
is so much less embarrassing than groveling. One of these sites, www.notproud.com,
calls itself "a delicious and compelling catalog of shame." They have
subsites named after the seven deadly sins: Pride, Envy, Sloth, Gluttony,
Greed, Lust, Anger, and they've added an eighth: Miscellaneous. I
don't know what would go under "miscellaneous," unless they're leaving
room for things like being on your cell phone while driving in traffic,
intercepting a friend's IMs, or telling people you're booked on Oprah
when you're not.
There are quite a few apologies on these websites, and some use rather
dicey language but that's okay -- these confessions are anonymous
and some of them seem to have been written by people with minds of
Another confession website is www.RawConfessions.com, whose motto
isn't as catchy as notproud's. Theirs is "Confess or Digress." Each
of their categories seems to have the same confessions by the same
people. Apparently, they know what they did, they just don't know
where it goes.
www.GroupHug.us/ assigns random numbers to people eager to confess.
Someone wrote, "It actually feels kind of good to know that someone
will read it." Sure, if the someone who reads it isn't Sister Andrea
or she'd find you, whoever and wherever you are, and give you a knuckle
People get quite earthy with their language so if you check out these
sites, be prepared for a quick exit. It's surprising how many randy
people are out there who want to look in other people's windows. Everyone
seems to want to confess something, and I'm no different.
I confess to wanting a karmic fusion with Kiefer Sutherland. Maybe
if I send him some big flowers, he'll call me. Then I can apologize.
Copyright Maggie Van Ostrand
"A Balloon In Cactus"
13, 2006 column