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Saying 'Sorry'

Why do we apologize for every little thing?



What's that phrase about never having to say you're sorry?

Well, maybe it's not "never" having to say to say you're sorry, but for some reason I have been realizing that "sorry" has become my new catch-all word for just about everything I do these days.

I'm always saying sorry when I don't even have anything to be really that sorry about. And it's not just me. I've been hearing many other people doing it also. What is this phenomenon?

"Sorry," as you almost bump into someone in the Goodwill store.

"Sorry," when you do not have the correct change.

"Sorry," for the time it takes to gather correct change.

"Sorry," if you reach the wrong phone number.

"Sorry, I gained 5 pounds," I tell myself as I spoon another gob of delicious store-bought white cake and ice cream into my mouth.

"Sorry," I forgot to call you back (not).

"Sorry," with a little backward wave, I almost cut you off with my car and ran you into the ditch back there.

"Sorry," I don't have time to take or want another telemarketing call.

Heck, I'm even telling my cat sorry when I am stepping over him—as if he cares! He never says sorry to me.

Saying sorry has become as mundane and incidental as saying "Bless you" when someone sneezes.

My theory? I think it may have something to do with the general reality of this economy. We all know people without jobs, living paycheck to paycheck, working two-plus jobs to make ends meet. And vacation? What's that?

We are a sorry bunch of people right now in general—but with great manners. When it comes right down to it, saying sorry is a nice thing to do. But I admit, I am getting tired of saying it.

There are a lot of other people out there who really need to say it much more often . . . and mean it . . . and act on it. Hint: can you spell l-e-g-i-s-l-a-t-o-r-s?

Now that would be a great phenomenon!

Barbara Stepka is a writer at based in Petaluma.Open Mic is a weekly feature in the Bohemian. We welcome your contribution. To have your topical essay of 350 words considered for publication, write

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