I’m a pesco-vegetarian. So for the past 16 years I haven’t eaten any meat other than fish. That’s right, no turkey on Thanksgiving, no BBQ steak in the summer, and no visit to KFC to try the infamous Double Down. But on Saturday I had to eat crow.
Earlier in the week I called my sister just to chat. I asked how she was, listened for a minute or two, and replied with a spontaneous well-intended remark. She normally loves my spontaneity. We share a similar sense of humour and on a good day, she thinks my impulsive comments are witty. On a brilliant day, she thinks I’m hysterical. But on this day, she wasn’t laughing.
Everyone knows that to tell a good joke, timing is key. And an insensitive comment spoken at the wrong moment is like an angry wasp — it can sting many times.
And once you say something, you just can’t take it back.
So what did I do? Apologize profusely? Beg for my sister’s forgiveness? No, I became defensive. (This makes things worse). And our phone call quickly ended with two abrupt good-byes.
If you ‘eat crow’ it means you have to admit that you were wrong about something. I knew I was wrong. I felt guilty. She deserved an apology but it wasn’t going to be enough to just say: “I’m sorry”.
She was out-of-town on business, so for the next few days I thought about why I was sorry. My comment was critical. And my choice of timing made an otherwise insensitive remark even cruel. But the thing I felt most apologetic about, was hurting someone I love.
On Saturday, I typed a note with talking points so that I would remember all the things I wanted to say. I took a deep breath and dialed the phone. It rang. She answered and I began with: “I’ve called to apologize.”
I admitted I was wrong. I ate crow and it was tough at first, but my sister was receptive, and that made it easier. I think she was as relieved to hear my heartfelt apology as I was to say it. After it was over, we briefly chatted about other things, and this time our call ended in our usual way: “bye, love you”. When I hung up the phone, I felt like everything was right again.
‘Eating crow’ is not something I’m particularly proud of, but making things right, well that’s ‘something to crow about’.