The Power of Forgiveness

Categories: Advice

Photo: JP Pullos for PMC
I re-learned it the other evening after seizing upon the power of apologizing.

At a screening, I was seated right behind Tony winning actor/singer/humanitarian Phyllis Newman and cringed every time she swiveled her head because I didn't want her to see me.

I'd written something off-base about her some years ago, and have felt weird about it ever since, wishing I could undo the damage.

(I wrote that she walked out of watching a Broadway play, not realizing it was because of a health problem. She wanted to stay for Act Two, but couldn't.)

At the screening's after party, I was working the room as Phyllis entered, barreling right into my line of vision.

My heart raced, but rather than duck for cover one more time, I seized the moment and tried to spark a difference.

"Hi, Phyllis," I said, going for the pounce.

"I'm so sorry I wrote something bad about you."

"What?" she said, obviously not thinking about this night and day for six years as I have.

"Some time ago, I wrote something dumb and I just want to apologize. I'm so sorry," I elaborated, cranking up the charm I didn't know I even had.

"Oh, that's OK," she replied, lovingly.

"Life is too short."

Wham--bad feelings evaporated.

Awkwardness avoided.

Avoiding avoided.

Classy lady.

Of course 99 per cent of the harsh things I've written I totally stand by, but it was nice to defuse the ickiness of this one.

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She beat Barbra Streisand for the Tony! She's major!


No one has ever sung "Who's That Woman?" better than Phyllis Newman (except maybe Mary McCarty). She is a naturally funny, ebullient woman. Who remembers her bubbly "Tonight" show appearances with Johnny? I think she even appeared with Jack Paar.


It's only right that two of the New Yorkiest people left on the planet should kiss and make up.  Miss Newman is a class act and always has been - and so are you, Mr. M.


She's a terrific person, unlike most of the sleaze you are required regularly to cover.


This actually inspired me. I'm going to go through my list of offenses, pick one, and apologize. Maybe.


Good for you, you little shit!