How & when to apologize

We are very proud, up here in Greater Parkdale at the moment, for one of ours with a name from Transylvania has won some big tennis championship in the Natted States Merica, defeating some long-time ladies’ tennis champion. I’d heard of the latter, Serena Williams. Her victorious challenger, Bianca Andreescu, I had to look up in the Wicked Paedia. From this I learnt that she is still a teenager.

I don’t follow tennis myself, never did, and only played under duress. (Whipped every set.) The last time was nearly forty years ago, I believe. On this I stake my claim to journalistic expertise. (I assume we are discussing lawn tennis, with all the players dressed appropriately.)

Beating “Serena” would be difficult, I suppose, even for a boy. But apologizing to her numerous, disappointed fans after the match, for having won it, was Miss Andreescu’s peculiarly Canadian innovation.

We do several things up here, which the world finds eccentric. For instance, should one of our drunks collide with a lamp post, he may ask it to excuse him. And according to one of my American visitors, some years ago, if a Canadian pedestrian were bisected by a car, the still-animate top half of him might pull itself up to the driver’s window and exclaim, “Watch where you’re goin’, eh?”

(The kill rate for pedestrians in Toronto is, I have noticed, quite high. But we can always apologize to the corpses.)

My Chief Texas Correspondent, who alerted me to the result of the Natted States Open, tells me that humility is against the law in the Lone Star State. Compare Canada, where everything is against the law, and the citizens are encouraged to rat one another out, because the bureaucrats can’t keep up with the surveillance cameras.

Do I exaggerate? Probably. As I’ve been reminded by several of my Canadian readers, even one in Alberta, exaggeration is against the law in Canada. I try to keep it within tennis-court bounds.

Among the Beatitudes is what the meejah call a “shout out” to the meek, promising that they will inherit the Earth, though not, I expect, today or tomorrow. It is a charming quality which I, too, applaud (at least in others). There should be more elements in the composition of a human character — ambition and bravery come to mind, to start the alphabet of secular virtues — but each requires careful qualification. Meekness is a virtue that can stand on its own.

The best thing about it, is that you don’t have to apologize very often. I wouldn’t say meekness means never having to say you’re sorry. But it’s nice when it’s optional.