Virginia Barton

21 September 2018: Mea culpa

21 September 2018


Was it in Ivanhoe, the 1952 film, that one of the cast said:

“What arm d’ye elect to bear?”

To which the reply was:

“I bear mace and chain this day!”

Well I ask that you, from another film (with Romans I think), say:

“Prepare to hurl boulders!”

At me that is; for they are richly deserved.


Clever, funny and usually at someone else’s expense, the words  jump out before one thinks, so keen is one to make a smart remark  or score a point. And then it’s too late — you can’t un-say what you said or take them back.

Even an: “Oh gosh, I’m really sorry I didn’t mean to say that, do forgive me!” is no use. The words are forever said. If you are lucky, the recipient may forget them after many years.

You won’t, and I haven’t.


One of our children, aged about nine I suppose, made a small clay pot with a lid, crazily painted; and gave it to us as a Christmas present. Without thinking I thanked her for it, referring to the little pot as “yet another half baked handout.”

What a thing to say to a nine-year-old! What a beastly, hurtful remark to make!

Fifty years later the creator of the pot laughs heartily when remembering (often) the incident. I blush with shame as well I might.

Now, where are those boulders?






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