The old phrase “be careful what you wish for” is particularly relevant for me in the last week. In an effort to distract my boys (ages 13 and 11) from video games and YouTube, I told them to get outside and do something productive. Their idea of productive may differ from the classical definition. They decided that our playset needed a remodel. They removed the swings and slides and are converting the structure into a clubhouse. . . the most expensive clubhouse ever built. If Home Depot has a good earnings report this quarter, you can thank the Len boys. They enclosed the side, built a sun shade, and added a dog ramp so that our chocolate chip stealing dog, Harvey, can join them “upstairs.” One neighbor said that the rumor was that they were adding electrical outlets (not true) and another joked that we might need a building permit (not true or funny.)
The tough guy award for this week goes to our client, Sylvia, in Costa Rica. I had scheduled a Zoom call with her on Thursday at noon her time. When we got on the call, I noticed that she had a bandage of sorts on her wrist and asked her what happened. She told me that she had fallen, broken her wrist and needed surgery. After talking for a while, I asked her when it had happened and she replied “this morning at 10am.” Two hours after a significant break, she was on the phone with me and in good spirits. Well done Sylvia!
In response to my story last week, one of our clients, Craig, noted that the phrase mea culpa comes from a Roman Catholic prayer for confessing sin and seeking forgiveness. One line of the prayer is mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa, which is usually translated as “through my own fault, through my own fault, through my most grievous fault.”
The phrase was borrowed directly from this prayer and has been in use as an admission of guilt since at least the 1200s. The noun form referring to an apology seems to be much newer, with the first records of it coming from the 1800s. The phrase is now commonly used both ways.
Craig added that when you eat your roommate’s leftover burrito without asking, you could say mea culpa, or you could offer a mea culpa by admitting that you did it and saying that you’re sorry. Or you could just stop eating your roommate’s food.
This week’s offerings:
- Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson is a powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice.
- The Vapors: A Southern Family, the New York Mob, and the Rise and Fall of Hot Springs, America’s Forgotten Capital of Vice by David Hill brings back to life three real characters from the first half of the 20th century, and tells the story of their connection to the lavish casino from which the book takes its title. Before the family-friendly Las Vegas of recent decades, there was the danger and glamour of Hot Springs.
- The Bridge – When a body is discovered on a bridge between Denmark and Sweden, the two countries have to work together in order to catch the killer.