2018-01-19 / Commentary

Making things right

It’s not a criticism; It’s an observation
Mike Cox

Lots of people are apologizing lately. Primarily men, powerful men, who did things they thought would always be acceptable. Most of the apologies are for getting caught. No one apologizes for something still undiscovered. Tearful, televised apologies are common among the powerful when caught red handed, usually followed by acceptance.

I’m cynical about the typical apology and still awaiting the tearful acknowledgment from an all-powerful man, telling us how sorry he is for something he did that no one has yet discovered, and he just wants to unburden his heart. The religious leaders, and there have been several, are especially irksome.

One would think any true believer accepts his God is aware of everything we do when it happens. Offering a tearful apology to the Almighty for something decades in the past is disingenuous at worst; really, really late at best. It seems a charade for the sake of public opinion; although, most apologies probably fall into that same category.

I wonder how many of us remain haunted by past actions we wish we could correct. I’m regularly reminded of some idiotic act from my younger years, back in the days when I was too stupid to understand how smart I really wasn’t. Nothing earth shattering, but still stupid.

Many of us would like a bag full of do-overs for our misspent youth. I’m sure we all did regrettable things spontaneously and then hope for the rest of our lives no one remembers. Few get to go back in time and make corrections.

I recently witnessed such an event.

On a rainy day in November, I served as chauffeur for an all day attempt at personal redemption for a close personal friend. We started late in morning rush hour in Columbia, headed to Beaufort, S.C., and returned late that evening, in time to sit for most of an hour on I-26 with thousands of commuters, truckers, and unlucky travelers.

My friend decided to make amends for a teenage indiscretion 50 years later no one else would know about without her input. One day in Beaufort, while riding around aimlessly, a group of teenage hooligans decided to steal a handmade, wrought iron gate from a neighbor’s yard.

The gate sat undisturbed for decades, exuding guilt in relatively small doses. I was unaware of the story and assumed this was part of the unusual style of decoration that includes a rusted out old bicycle, gazing ball, and other things that don’t blend with anything anywhere else and were dropped in a random spot, never to be retrieved. Didn’t know the gate was sending negative vibes.

We spent a rainy afternoon exploring dusty memories and old Beaufort neighborhoods without finding a match or empty gate hinge. We did have a nice lunch and enjoyable conversation with old friends and decided to at least return the gate to a local expert in such things. So far, no new episodes of Catholic Guilt have appeared.

I’m thinking about trying to locate some pilfered road signs from the late 60s and returning them to the ALDOT. No one wants to expire with a guilty conscience.

Alabama state highway 69 was especially popular.

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