I'm sorry.

When's the last time you heard those two words?

When's the last time you said those two words?

For anything? To anyone?

I ask because there's a really great piece by Del Jones in USA Today on why a simple "sorry" is so hard to come by these days. Particularly among financial chief executives who fear using the word, opens them to a whole lot of lawsuits because they uttered that word.

After all, "sorry" means, "I goofed," which is why so many say everything but.

When Lehman Brothers CEO Richard Fuld appeared before Congress recently, he said everything but he was sorry. Said he took full responsibility for his decisions, felt really horrible about what happened, but apparently not so horrible that he felt the need to apologize, to simply say, "I'm sorry."

Del Jones points out there was a time when politicians were apologizing for everything: Bill Clinton for abuses to Indian tribes more than two centuries earlier; Scores of congressmen for personal lapses two or three weekends earlier.

In fact, time was when saying you were sorry carried a kind of badge of honor. And they were easy. After all, saying you're sorry is a heck of a lot easier than proving you're sorry.

No more. Not when there's a financial meltdown, and lots of folks have seen their life savings melt down. And now they're having a real meltdown, demanding someone's going to have to pay up.

Which is why lawyers advise their financial clients, better not say you're sorry for this.

And I'm sorry for that, and sorrier still for empty words and even emptier actions. I'm sorry so many with authority aren't sorry.

I'm sorrier still for the message it's sending our kids. We always tell them when you've done wrong to not only admit it, but prove it. Make what you did wrong, right.

They get it. Do we?

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