If ever there was a phrase calculated to sound the trumpets of war, that’s it. It’ll also start the kettledrums of bad decision and the ocarina of awkwardness. Sort of like the modern music segment of an ABC concert before we get to the Beethoven.
Warning people of things is always a difficult thing – because so few want to hear the warnings and even fewer want to heed them. In fact it is a great way of precipitating a disaster but gaining virtue points at the same time. Warn someone not to drive over the cliff in the right way and they’ll swerve for the guard rail and hit the accelerator. And you can honestly testify that you tried to prevent it by giving timely advice…
It’s also a phrase that gets tacked onto psychological ploys where someone is trying to make you feel guilty. ” You’ll be sorry after I’m gone ” is the standard of the industry. It takes nerves of steel or silicone rubber to reply ” Well, I’ll be used to it by then – I’m sorry you’re here now…”. Call their bluff, by all means but not when they are standing on the top of a bluff.
Some would change the phrase – but with unknown consequences. ” You’ll be sorry. ” could become:
a. ” I’ll be sorry .”… Which reveals a little more vulnerability.
b. ” I won’t be sorry. “… That’s the sort of thing you expect Bette Davis to say, possibly with a riding crop in her hand.
c. ” You are sorry. “. Well that’s tellin’em.
d. ” No-one’s sorry. “. Now there’s a challenging piece of truth for anyone. Digest that one and you’re well on your way to philosophy.
e. ” Sorry with a fringe on top. “. Only in Oklahoma.
f. ” I used to be sorry.” Which begs the question about what emotion is running through the mind right now. This is a tough one.
As for me, I do have some regrets but they mostly centre around not feeling sorry enough for long enough. Weeping gives me hiccups and at my age gnashing your teeth is a good way to lose a cusp. I’ve taken to just handing out angst biscuits at morning tea and letting it go at that.