Sorry Excuses

Since when did "I'm sorry" become the hardest two words to say in the English language?

Sheesh. We're talking a one-and two-syllable word, people. And since when did a 28-day stay in a cushy rehab make up for all sorts of terrible behavior?

Rehab is the new apology, and it seems to be working, whether we like it or not.

There are just a few problems with this little trend. It doesn't treat the real problems of most who use it as their insurance-covered cure-all. Let's take a quick walk down rehab memory lane, shall we?

Let's start with Mark Foley (R-Fla), who chaired the House caucus on missing and exploited children and helped write the sexual-predator provisions of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006. When he wasn't busy writing laws to protect minors from these perverted souls, he was busy writing underage male pages explicit sexual material described by investigators as "vile and sick" via email and instant messaging. After this nasty little iPerv was caught red-handed, Foley at least had the decency to resign his post, but then it was off to rehab for his alcohol addiction.

Perhaps ol' Foley did tend to tipple too often, but rehab isn't going to fix his real issues, namely pedophilia and raging hypocrisy. I'm not sure, but I don't think there are special rehabs for those things. But hey, cut him some slack, right? He went to rehab (and on our dime, no less!). Give that guy a gold star.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom got busted earlier this year having an affair with his own campaign manager's wife. Now that's loyalty, folks. Once again, though, it's not a lack of moral fiber Newsom cops to, naturally. The booze made him do it. And there he is, blazing his trail off to rehab. I certainly hope they offer Cheater's Anonymous along with those AA classes, but somehow I doubt it.

And how could we forget Ted Haggard — president of the National Association of Evangelicals and senior pastor of the 14,000-member New Life Church in Colorado. After a male prostitute came forward (with a bit of evidence) and claimed he and Haggard had crystal meth-fueled sex for years, Haggard would only cop to buying meth, then throwing it away. He resigned temporarily, and is in "spiritual counseling," a years-long process that involves, among other things, the traditional "laying on of hands." (Isn't that what got him in trouble in the first place?) Again, I hope there's a hypocrisy wing in his facility of choice, but I somehow doubt it.

I know that rehab works for those who go there to get help for real problems. Success stories abound. But come on, rehab is for quitters, not acquittal.

I'm not sure what irks me more: Rehab as mea culpa, or the nonapology apology we so often hear from public figures busted for various sins. You know, the old, "I'm sorry if what I said offended anyone or was misunderstood." Translation? "I'm not sorry for what I said. I'm sorry you got mad about it/are too stupid to get what I meant/are just too sensitive." Apologizing through a lawyer as disgraced NBA referee Tim Donaghy did is just plain pathetic. Face up to what you did, you weasel! I want to see that whistle-blowing mug of yours tell me (via TV) how sorry you are for betting on games. Just say it. I promise, it won't kill you.

No rehab rant would be complete without a mention of a few celebrities. And though these idiots certainly shouldn't be held to the standards of our elected officials and church leaders, our tabloid cover folks are single-handedly keeping several cushy rehab retreats in high cotton. Brit. Lindsay. Brandon Davis. Mel Gibson. Isaiah Washington. Michael Richards. Kate Moss. Is there really a 28-day way to rid yourself of anti-Semitism or racism? Come on, people. You're giving the rest of the folks out there really trying to get the help they need a bad name, and making a mockery of the whole process of rehabilitation.

I'll go ahead and apologize in advance if anything I've written here offended anyone. My attorney will be issuing a statement soon. See you in 28 days! 

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