“I have no regrets.”

You've heard it before, this stock phrase, this stale mini-performance. With little effort you imagine it dribbling from the mouth of an unctuous politician, smiling through his concession speech: “I have no regrets.” Picture it as a gray smog of language exhaled by the disgraced sports star unmasked as just another cheater: “I have no regrets.” Or mouthed by the reality TV “personality” perched comfortably in her faux-confessional, in a last defiant sound bite before being escorted from the island: “I have no regrets.”

Of a suspicious cast of mind and having lived a little yourself, you look skeptically on “no regrets.” It’s a claim of having chosen just this life and lived it through. I yam what I yam and tha's all what I yam, it says, an incantation against introspection. In a particularly cynical mood, you might opine that two kinds of people claim to have no regrets: liars, and people who ought to know better – those fortunate souls blessedly untroubled with self-awareness.