Causing no offence

Do I ever regret offending anyone? Of course I do, especially when the offence is unintended or unwarranted! The problem is that I don't think I've offended anyone without intention or good reason this year, and so I've been having great difficulty writing my annual column of regrets. To help flesh out the required space, in the newspaper at least, I've been reduced to regretting offence that was warranted, although in some cases I could not, despite my need, offer even a fleeting regret.

My list of possibly regretful columns includes labelling female donkey drivers as jennies and my call a few weeks later to bring back the curtsy. However, even including warranted offence in my regrets list is not enough to express regret for unifying the thousands of pear-shaped Ulysseans and their pear-shaped boilers who spent days wobbling about the Lower Hunter on their ocean liner bikes in March, but there is one teeny little matter. When I suggested that people checking out the Saturday display of bikes might be wise to find out exactly when the 89-year-old Ulyssean with the Russian motorbike would be riding back to Queensland I didn’t mean to enrage him. Not at 89.

As short as I am of 2011 regrets I cannot bring myself to regret the offence caused to some men by my column in May describing their use of public toilets as sex venues as posing a threat to children.

In writing about the monster steak and monster burger eating challenges at Cardiff Panthers and Wests Mayfield in August I offended people of Cardiff and Mayfield by describing those suburbs as epicentres of obesity. This was, I accept, unduly unkind to Mayfield.

And what about my cat's broken leg! My decision, after careful inspection and consideration, that Tilly would do a fine job of mending her broken leg came under sustained attack from almost everyone, and the fact that Tilly's leg did mend seamlessly didn't seem to matter to them. Well, I'm sorry, but I have to say that when I think of the money I saved on veterinary bills I'm not very sorry.

Have I offended you this year? Today’s the day to demand an apology or give me a lashing, or both.

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