a sorry mess

September 25, 2018
I don't know if other languages handle it better, but "sorry" in English is a bit broken. Take phrases such as "I'm sorry to hear about your loss" -- Why is it so common to say "sorry to *hear* about"? (I guess you could also say "sad to hear about" and have the same problem.) Your hearing of it might be *when* you felt sad, but it seems odd or unsympathetic that the hearing of it is the subject of the sentence, and so what you're sad/sorry about. And then, of course, the "sorry that happened" and its retort "that's ok it wasn't your fault" or "why? you didn't cause it" - sophomoric responses but they point to that weird confusion of apology and sympathy built into the phrasing. I know I'm trying to dissect language in a way that doesn't make sense, and should generally be on the side of any common sentiment that expresses kindness, but it's a little troubling that we use such oddly ambiguous language for such an important thing. (And that's not even getting started with "I'm sorry if people felt what I did was wrong" non-apologies.)
Mourning at the Magic Kingdom "Right after my father's funeral, I took my family to Disney World. It turned out to be the right place for me to grieve."

Weirdly my family took the same approach back in 1988.

Always kind of liked the line "Kirk! You're a graceless adolescent who just lost his father after a long illness! What are you going to do now?" "I'm going to Disney World!"