As thoughts of early retirement are debated in our household, I frequently wonder if I can handle writing full time. I have a curious (a kind word) method of writing. It includes lots of self-distraction, online shopping, Diet Coke guzzling and online bridge playing. If I have all day to write ten pages, I’ll screw around for the first four hours before getting serious. One would think I could just write the ten pages and then go out and play, but apparently my weird methodology doesn’t work that way.
That’s why–when I do hang up the teaching gig–I’m considering a part-time job. I know, right? Seems counter-productive. But I figure it’s a way to ease into retirement. I don’t embrace change easily 🙂
Problem is, the ideas I have for part time jobs don’t exist. So I tend to try to make them up. Like telling my principal that I’d like to work two days a week as an RTI Specialist (lining up learning interventions and analyzing data). Unfortunately we don’t have such a position in the district. I figure she has time to create one in time for me to fill it.
I’m also certain that I would be superb as a beach reviewer. If I could just find a job that would fly me to a different tropical beach for a week each month, I’d be glad to write a thorough list of the pros and cons of each. I happen to be supremely qualified. A–I own swimsuits. Lots of swimsuits. B–I have a proven and hard-earned tolerance to umbrella drinks. C–I also own an extensive collection of beach cover ups. I think we can all agree that I’m a natural.
Another void out there in the world today that desperately needs filling in that of Apologist. Apparently the art of apologizing is lost somewhere between the age of 5 and adulthood. Being a celebrity or a politician speeds up the loss of the talent. But people are getting so appallingly bad at apologizing that clearly they need help.
As an example, (and there are always fresh examples) consider the douchey NH lawmaker who recently referred to women as vaginas in an email to his colleagues. The context: “What could possibly be missing from those factual tales of successful retreat in VT, Germany, and the bowels of Amsterdam? Why children and vagina’s of course.”
I guess he was so confused on how to spell the female gender (wimmen? wimmin?) that he just went with his very own synonym. (We won’t even get in to his egregious misunderstanding of the proper use of plurals and apostrophes.)
But the worst part was what he did when he was called out for his words. He followed step-by-step the anti-apology playbook:
1–Double down. This is where the offender denies he/she said or did anything offensive. He first told his critics, in part: “…if you find the word vagina insulting or in some way offensive then perhaps a better exercise might be for you to re-examine your psyche.” Ooo-kay. My psyche is pretty convinced that he’s an f-wit.
2–Offer the non-apology. The offender ‘pretends’ to apologize, but expresses no contrition, but rather shifts the blame on to the offended party. The NH rep’s ‘apology’ was classic: “It is apparent that the intent of my remarks has been misinterpreted, the true goal of the message lost and for that I apologize to those who took offense.” There are a few variations on this ‘non-apology’: “If you believe I meant to cause offense, I’m sorry.” Or, “I’m sorry if you took offense at my innocent remarks.” Which deftly couples steps one and two.
In my new gig as Apologist for hire, I would extract the word IF from all apologies. I’d advise my clients (and oh, there are so many in the world in need of these services) there is no if in an I’m sorry. You’re sorry or you’re not. If you’re not, don’t apologize. It just makes you look like a bigger d-bag. If you are sorry, own it. “I’m sorry I hurt your feelings.” It’s really that simple.
Oh, and another clue? Don’t apologize if you’re going to do it again. That’s just introducing sand to the wound. And I have a feeling my services aren’t going to come cheap.
Do you have another example of a non-apology? What’s the classiest apology you’ve uttered or heard?