herald

Saturday 21 October 2017

We all have our past - just like Angie

It scares the bejaysus out of me. And it should be a lesson to all of us to be kind about the failings of others.

Just think about a scenario where you were not quite at your best and someone had the bad manners to record you and put it online for all the world to see?

Wouldn't you be only mortified? It's rare that I feel sorry for such a perfect specimen of womanhood as Angelina Jolie but my heart went out to her this week when a tape, allegedly of her, emerged this week.

With emaciated arms and bloodshot eyes, she (allegedly, again) rambles incoherently to her father Jon Voight on the telephone.

There but for the grace of God go the rest of us is all I can say.

By that I don't mean to imply that we all have as dark and dangerous a past as Jolie (she says she was lucky to survive hers), but that we all have done things in our youth we'd rather forget.

Scratch that. If you're anything like me, you'll have done something in the past week that you'd like erased from your memory. And everybody else's.

I can still recall from my twenties that awful "day after" feeling when you suddenly remember what you'd done or said after a few drinks the night before.

Cringe. There's nothing worse is there? Well yes, there is.

What must it be like for kids today to know that their every move and conversation may be recorded, whether they know about it or not, and put up on Facebook or Instagram for their mammies to see? Scarleh isn't the word.

Just this week my own young daughter was delighted that her grandmother was telling her all the bold things I used to get up to as a wayward teen.

sensible

"She doesn't know the half of it, thank God" was my response. "And nor does your father", was what I was also thinking, but was sensible enough not to say.

Because no matter how well behaved or moral or honest we think we've managed to turn out, we all have secrets; we all did things that we wish we hadn't, that we regret and that we don't want any of our kids or current friends, or God forbid, our parents to know about.

Some of our secrets are merely embarrassing, some are dreadful. But we all have them.

It's called life, and having things we're ashamed of shouldn't be anything to be ashamed of. As long as we've admitted our mistakes to ourselves at least.

I know if I thought the world and its wife knew even just the top five of my most embarrassing moments I wouldn't be able to leave the house in the morning.

And I don't think I'm so very different from the rest of the population. Then again, maybe I'm fooling myself. Just don't tell my kids.

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