According to Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler, who should know something about this, "Forgiveness is like giving your soul a blow job." It's the same as saying, "Confession is good for the soul," but why say that when you can say blow job? And given President Clinton's current affair of state, who isn't?
Tyler's point is well taken, but for optimum release, I would change "forgiveness" to "admitting it." It could be a little secret shame, like you know all the words to "It's Raining Men" (guilty), or a bigger thing, like you don't have a medical license but just really want to be a doctor so you put up a sign and say you are. Admit it. Exposing yourself can be a joyful experience, especially if you do so in a swift breeze.
Admission is something that seems to divide us. Just look at all those people who are itching to warm a chair on Jerry Springer and tell us how they had sex with their cousin, the Cardinal. The problem is, the only people who are interested are their companions on the Island of Misfit Toys. These people get to be on TV not through the usual means, but only by admitting to something, and who cares what Nellie Nobody from Inbred, Ind., has to get off her chest? Unless, of course, it is a large goiter, which would be fascinating and get her on The Discovery Channel.
Back on Earth, we are subjected to conspiracy theories, cover-ups, no comments, special prosecutors* and so much evasion that it seems they only call it "the news" because calling it "something that would be news if anyone had anything to say" would be too-long a title. That marvelous moment at the end of so many good thrillers when the villain goes through some facsimile of the "I did it and I'm glad!" speech is a climax we seldom get to enjoy in real life.
Until now. The guilty pleas of Ted Kascynski and Rod Ferrell knocked me for a loop. Freaks, yes, but freaks of latent conscience, they spared the public and the government the marathon trials that others have not. The paranoid schizophrenic hermit nerd and the formerly Cher-haired demon child came clean. They actually fell when the finger of evidence squarely pointed at them and said, "Bang, you're dead," instead of continuing to run around saying, "I'm not dead." (Didn't you hate kids who did that?)
Being the horrible prognosticator that I am ( I was the one who swore that Craig Button's missing A-10 fighter plane was abducted by aliens, remember?), I hesitate to call it a trend. People will always stand there with their DNA all over the cookie jar and their face covered with crumbs and swear they didn't take anything. They are afraid to admit even little things because they worry that other people will react badly, as if other people really pay attention to anything but themselves. Go ahead and admit you listen to Air Supply (guilty again). Admit the reason you know so much about porn on the Internet is NOT because your friends look at it (what can I say?). People will care less than you think.
To get the office of admissions up and running, I'll admit I don't like dogs. In America this makes you a dirty Commie beatnik pervert, but if I'm going to be jumped and slobbered on by something, I'd rather it not be entirely covered with hair.
'll admit I believe in genetic engineering so we can weed out people who rehearse their horrible stand-up routines in midconversation, requiring you to laugh when you'd rather push them in front of a bus.
I'll admit that I flip people off in traffic, only I do it under the dash so no one knows.
I know I'm supposed to embrace artsy people as superior and fascinating beings, but I'll admit that I hide from them a lot: What if they want to show me their work and expect me to tell them what I really think?
I'll also admit that I am angriest at people when they exhibit the same faults that I do (shallow, controlling, stuck-up a little), that dirty pictures usually have a cheering effect on me, and that whatever we're talking about, I secretly wish it were cartoons.
And one final note of clear, blue honesty. I had been thinking about writing a column on this topic but put it off until I saw the exact style of article that I intended to write written by Katha Pollit in The Nation, titled "Mea Culpa." Only after realizing that the idea had been used by a more talented and ambitious person did I spring, or crawl, yawning, into action. Mea Lazy. Mea Cheap. Mea only person in the world to get run over by own bandwagon. Mea Idiot. Don't listen to Mea.
The truth shall set me free -- although it's still the BS that gets you more air time.
*"Special" isn't used in front of "prosecutor" the way it is in front of "Olympics." At least that's what I heard.