So here we are.
Whenever a public figure messes up -- or, rather, messes up and gets caught -- said public figure usually puts on his most contrite face, stands in front of a podium, and no matter what the scandal actually is, recites the same, generic, carefully worded speech:
Ladies and gentlemen, and members of the press, I stand in front of you today asking for your forgiveness. It seems that my actions have wronged and offended some of you, and for that I am deeply sorry. I hope that we can all get past this lapse in judgment and move forward. Thank you.
It never seems satisfying, does it? That’s because it’s not a real apology that says “Oh, man, am I sorry” but rather “I’m sorry that I have to apologize, but my very valuable future depends on it.”
I am waiting to hear an apology that sounds a little more like this:
Good afternoon, everyone.
I gotta tell you, this stinks. And that’s a kind word for it.
Man, I thought I’d get away with this one. I’ve gotten away with so much already.
And I know that I really blew it when I tried to deny that I did it. But you can understand why, right? I mean, when you were little, and you broke that window or ate those cookies, you tried to cover it up, didn’t you? Of course you did. That’s natural. That’s human. We’re all human. We mess up and then we think, hey, if I pretend like I didn’t do it, and then believe in that lie hard enough, maybe I can actually convince myself and the rest of the world that it never happened. Well, that’s what happened here. So much so that I can't actually remember why you're all mad at me.
So now we’re looking at me having done two terrible things: the terrible thing and then the lying about the terrible thing.
Now, I could stand here and lie to you some more. I could say that I’m sorry when I’m really just sorry that I got caught. I could say that there were outside forces at work when, let’s face it, it was all my own doing. And I could tell you that I’m never going to have such a horrible lapse in judgment again… but I can’t predict the future.
I’d love to think that I will learn from this mistake, and I very well may do that. I might live the rest of my days a clean and scandal-free human being. I hope that’s the truth, and I’ll do whatever it takes to make that hope a reality. But when you’re a public figure, things get screwed up fast, faster than you have time to process what’s actually happening.
So, I don’t know what to tell you now. I really am sorry this happened because it messed up everything. Everything. You’re all making fun of me now and calling me names and now I can’t sleep. But then again, I can’t really blame you. If I were you and I saw what someone like me did, I’d tell that person that he was a great big steaming pile of dung. So I guess that makes me a great big steaming pile of dung. And trust me, when you’re a great big steaming pile of dung, it’s not fun anymore.
Like I said, this stinks.
So, I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I’m a great big steaming pile of dung. I’ll say it every day if you want me to, until you’re satisfied with my apology. I’ll stand on the street corner with a sign if you want me to.
But at some point, we all have to go back to living our lives until some other great big steaming pile of dung comes along that we can all point and laugh at. And if you could make that time when we all go back to living our lives sooner than later, that would be really great for all of us, I think.
Thank you. Seriously. Thank you.
I’m not holding my breath for a speech like this, though.
Of course, it would be hilarious if someone in the midst of a scandal plagiarized this speech and thusly created another scandal. (They never learn, do they?)
Yes indeed. Welcome to me.