Thursday, June 23, 2011

I...am...so...sorry...ish.

"Oh...my God. I...am...so sorry."

"Oops. Sorry about that."

"I beg your forgiveness...please accept my heartfelt apology."

Let's face it: apologizing bites. At its best, it's an emotionally painful, yet highly effective gesture, and at its worst, insulting to the apologee and a notch lower than no apology at all.

No sooner do we learn how to interact with other humans than we begin apologizing. At first we don't even really understand what it means, but we have to do it anyway:

"Now, Tim, big boys don't bite, especially in the eyebrow. Please apologize to Eddie and get me a couple of band-aids, some Bactine and a large, older towel. How will I explain those tooth marks, especially those caused by your molars, to Mrs. Jangsmargin?"

We mumble a "sorry," and go about our business, checking human brow lines off the list of unexplored textures and remorseful only about getting in trouble.

To exasperate matters, we currently occupy an era of nonaccountablility, where expressing contrition is like exposing our pristine, gluteal hemispheres to a biting Nor' Easter. We avoid true apologies with greater vigor than when someone knocks on the front door, holding shiny magazines and wearing church goin' clothes.

The statement, "I'm sorry," is hurled around frequently. But don't be fooled.

When that familiar voice proclaims, "We're sorry. You have reached a number which is no longer in service," why should anyone be sorry? And who is "we"—Debbie, the digital computer voice, plus her friends Mr. Coffee and Epson from the fifteenth floor of the phone company?

Or how about when you slide your cafeteria tray up to the cashier and offer your credit card, your eyes locking in on the slowly congealing Kraft Single which blankets your burrito. Almost happily, the exchequer proclaims, "Oh, I'm sorry, sir. We only accept cash and Blotto's Burrito Bucks."

Dead in the water, you seek out a place to bid your non-eaten lunch farewell. Your mind screams, "You are NOT sorry! In fact, I think you enjoyed telling me that! You evil, evil man, depriving me of this nasty goodness."

After comparing your experience to Neil Armstrong being told by NBC that he cannot descend the stairs to the moon due to a phallic Tang stain right below his NASA patch, you rally with some Old Gold pretzels and an orange Fanta from the machine.

Celebrities are notorious for the non-apology apology. I can't remember if Rush Limbaugh actually said this or not, but I'm sure it went something like:

"If I have offended or repulsed or pounded home anyone's suspicions that I am a gurgling pill burglar, I am truly sorry and I assure you that any drugs I purchase on my next sex vacation to the Dominican Republic will be safely transported in my expansive colon. You have my word, my friends."

My pet peeve is apologies which begin with "if." I guess if your not offended, Rush isn't sorry.

Inspiration for this particular post wasn't hard to come by. I fear that I may have severely offended someone and, for whatever it's worth, I'd like to offer an apology.

My transgression was of the five-star variety—a Major League, Premier Division, Zagat-rated gaffe, and hopefully the offended person reads this and knows who he or she is.

I screwed up. No "ifs," no qualifiers, no contingencies.

I'm sorry.

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