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Just a Word

By , Norcross, GA

“Sorry” is just a word, a meaningless series of letters and sounds we say when we haven’t anything else to say. We’re taught from a young age to apologize when we do others wrong, but it is because of this that the word “sorry” carries no meaning.


I say it as I walk in front of a row of people to get to my seat at the theatre. I say it when I run into a doorway I didn’t realize was that close to me. I say it when I don’t understand something. When I argue with others, I say it first. Rarely do I mean it. “Sorry” is nothing more than a word I use when I don’t know what else to say. It’s a placeholder.


When someone apologizes to me, I say everything is fine and continue with life. But truthfully, nothing is fine. I say everything is fine because I have been trained to say it, similar to saying “Bless you!” when someone sneezes; it’s automatic, mindless, meaningless. In order to know if someone is truly rueful, I observe their actions and the subtle nuances in their overall presence. To find someone truly apologizing is rare in my experience, and more often than not, the offense is repeated.


“Sorry” is a powerless word. Never once has “sorry” remedied a situation or fixed a broken item. When my father got into a car accident a few months back, the other driver apologized for hitting my father’s car, but “sorry” didn’t fix the crushed quarter panel.


Nor does “sorry” regain the trust of those we’ve hurt. Betraying someone’s trust is a dangerous way to play the game of life, and the shattered trust will take months or longer to repair; “sorry” won’t fix it. And “sorry” alone has never repaired my broken trust. “Sorry” is what my mother says to me when others are looking at us; “You worthless child!” is what she screams when we are alone.


“Sorry” is what people say when they don’t want to admit they pity you. “I feel sorry for him; his parents are absent from his life.” No, you pity him. You feel a sympathy you don’t understand for him because of something you know nothing about. When you pity someone, you demean them. You look down on them because of their situation, whatever it may be. And you hide it being the word “sorry” for the sake of appearing polite.


All my life “sorry” has been the most meaningless, powerless, pitiful word I’ve ever heard. It means nothing to me, nor will it ever. “Sorry” is a word that needs to die, and I am not sorry I believe that.

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