My ideal ... apology


I was in my room the other day, doing some paperwork. It was quite intricate – I was using my final reminder electricity bills to hone my origami skills. Sadly, the threats made the paper heavy and the cranes ungainly, so after a long evening of unsuccessful folding, I decided instead to imagine the ideal apology.

I’m sorry to say that I often apologise without really meaning it. Clip this little section out of your paper, laminate it and use the following empty apologies for yourself.
1. Oh sorry, all the biscuits seem to be gone. Maybe some fell on the ground and the little dog ate them? I only had one, I’m actually not a big biscuit person.
2. I’m sorry to miss your hen party. I adore Athlone in November, and it would be a treat to spend time making fascinators with those girls you did teacher training with. Unfortunately I’m having dialysis that whole weekend.
3. So sorry I’m late. I can’t believe I missed the part of the meeting where all the men say their opinions. I’m such a goose. I’ll just quickly tell you mine and we can call it a day.

So you see, if you are truly sorry, action needs to be taken. Hypothetical: your neighbours are honeymooning in Trabolgan, you do not join them, offering instead to pet sit. You get distracted trying on the lady’s wedding dress and the cat eats the hamster. Instead of apologising to the happy couple and ruining their trip, have the naughty murderer put down at once.

Vague apologies are the pits. There’s nothing more infuriating to receive, apart from one of those huffy notes from your postman where he changes all the rules. You come to me now, the note says, I’m tired of your games. You weren’t here, so if you want your parcel, you come to me.

A detailed apology demonstrates that you’ve thought about why you’re wrong. Nobody wants to hear ‘Uh, sorry about that thing earlier’. Some of us want to hear ‘I apologise for saying you’ll never achieve the perfect bubble butt – with your renewed dedication to forward lunging whenever you have a spare moment, it is a real possibility. And your idea about applying to the Arts Council for butt implants is a clever plan B’. Got it, Mammy? I’ll be waiting for your fax.

To ensure your apology goes down well, why not make it the delicious filling in a compliment sandwich? For example: You’re 47? Tonya, I could’ve sworn you were 46! I’m sorry for cheating on you and I’ve got to say, that’s a really great beret, just at the right angle, too.

My dream apology is a magic balm of sorry that soothes the sadness of all involved, it’s true and accepted and wants nothing in return, it’s some kind of cure doing invisible work on behalf of the one seeking forgiveness. It’s a lion and a lamb curled up watching cartoons, righted and steady once more.

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