AT the end of every year I own up to columns that were regrettable and every year the cynics among you ask if I really really do regret offending anyone.
Yes, there are such cynical people out there.
The fact is that I do regret offending anyone unfairly, without justification, undeservedly, and so you’ll understand that I have to pad out such regrets to fill this column space. It’s a problem every year.
Going simply by the number of people who claimed to have been unfairly maligned I’d have to regret my February column calling for people who sleep with dogs to be identified by a badge so we can avoid contact with them. I mean, who would want to order a sandwich from a woman who shares her bed with slobbering, backside-licking mutt with more smells and emissions than Orica on Kooragang!
I’ll say sorry when you get the badge.
Anything I write about soccer is going to offend those who see males chasing a ball around a paddock as something more than a distraction on a very dull day, and so it was when Newcastle Jets fans went from prancing around with feather boas to feeling that their heart was ripped out in April after Nathan Tinkler’s show of handing back the Jets licence. Mr Tinkler played them for the geese they are.
Unfair? No, but I do feel sorry for them.
That anyone who goes from school to university to school is going to be desperately in need of exposure to the real world is obvious to everyone but teachers, and they were projecting their annoyance when I pointed that out in late April. We listen in silence to their tales of taking work home, of arriving early and leaving late, of being terribly stressed, but their squealing that they’re underpaid was too much for me. Freshly armed with a soft degree, they earn more than new lawyers, accountants, vets, architects and pharmacists, who don’t, by the way, enjoy the automatic pay rises so treasured by time-serving chalkies.
I am sorry that I couldn’t use that column as a comprehension test for teachers.
My asserting in May that parents who allow their child to become seriously obese are guilty of child abuse upset some. Tough.
Remember the case of the two American staffordshire bull terriers that jumped the fence and very nearly killed a 19-year-old Mirrabooka woman?
Well, my stating the obvious, that we’d all be safer if dogs bred to fight and kill were eradicated, brought out those who used to argue that it was upbringing, nothing else, that had girls playing with dolls and boys with guns and swords. This time they were arguing that it was a dog’s treatment, not genes, that determined its likelihood to maul and kill.
It’s a pity they weren’t visiting the Mirrabooka woman on that day in May. And no, I’m not sorry for that either.
Moaning in July about retired old codgers in supermarket queues was definitely out of order and I apologise unreservedly.
A couple of days later I was foolish enough to question the logic of women who present themselves sexually crying foul when they’re looked upon sexually, and I copped the predictable sneers about rape being the woman’s fault then.
Still, it is women teetering about in heels and debilitatingly tight skirts who preserve their status as sex objects, not men, and I don’t know how I can apologise for that. And I don’t want to.
And explaining a fortnight later that it is a smaller parietal cortex that prevents most women from reverse parking efficiently didn’t make them feel any better about me. The parietal cortex is the part of the brain involved in the perception of space, not that such science matters to women who can’t reverse park. OK OK, sorry. A bit.
Sending an overweight Leisel Jones to swim in the Olympics was about as sensible as sending a smoker to run the marathon, and the truth of this didn’t appease the fatties, either. But nothing a tub of chips with gravy wouldn’t fix.
My biggest regret? Running out of time this year to again point out the idiocy of those who believe skin graffiti gives their life meaning.