Never Too Late to Say You’re Sorry

The art of the public apology

There are a lot of apologies being issued these days, and I feel they’re lacking in quality.

Take Anthony Weiner, for example. It’s surprising that the congressman hasn’t read A Politician’s Guide to Public Apologies (“Whatever your scandal, you’ll know what to say!”). Rule No. 1: Keep it simple: Go to the podium, look somber, pause while the camera pans to your loyal wife who looks like she’s just swallowed a rotten mussel. Say a few words prepared by your handlers and get the hell out. Lengthy statements and weepy incoherence are not appreciated, and can easily be mocked by Dachshunds.

Then there’s Tracy Morgan, who simply can’t stop amending his apology for his recent homophobic standup routine in Tennessee. His words were vile, hateful, violent and apparently had nothing whatsoever to do with his true feelings, which are that he loves gays so much, he’s practically gay himself. Yes, he said he’d stab his son if the kid said he was gay. But what he meant to say was that he’d love him even more for being gay.

I like to think that if I were guilty of doing bad things, my apologies would be better. But it takes practice. So I’ve prepared a week’s worth of apologies based on my own major foible—sloth.

I would like to publicly apologize to the LGBT community for having been too lazy to attend the Gay Pride parade last weekend. I did not mean to imply by my absence that the event wasn’t worthwhile. Indeed, it has long been a favorite leisure-time activity, as it permits me to wear all the rainbow-themed buttons, necklaces and scarves that I have from my taste-challenged activist days in the 1990s. I also apologize for missing the event with my dog, who typically wears a black and pink bandanna reading “I Have Two Mommies,” thus serving as a positive role model for Chihuahuas owned by lesbians.

Yesterday I apologized for the lassitude that caused me to miss the Pride parade. I mentioned that as a result my dog was unable to wear her bandanna. It has come to my attention that other harm has come to my dog as a result of my distaste for mobility, namely an abrupt change in quality of her dog biscuits. Prior biscuits were larger and peanut butter-flavored; subsequent biscuits, purchased last-minute at the A-Plus around the corner rather than downtown at Trader Joe’s, are small, dry and flavorless. This purchase of subpar biscuits was not intended to suggest that overweight elderly Chihuahuas are any less deserving of quality biscuits than, say, athletic border collies.

Fellow Philadelphians, I apologize for my behavior on SEPTA’s trolley No. 34, which picked me up at the corner of 47th and Baltimore at 3:42 p.m. It is true that I intended to buy tokens last week but was unable to “get around to it” and thus was forced to spend approximately 4.3 seconds digging into my bag for two crumpled dollar bills that I then struggled to insert one at a time to pay my fare. I recognize that I caused a delay and that those behind me were frustrated by my inability to render the bills flat in a speedy fashion. Next time I assure you that I will have tokens, or perhaps a day pass.

Due to fatigue—which I now believe has an organic cause and for which I will seek treatment tomorrow—I continue to patronize a local coffeehouse that is part of what my neighbors call “Penntrification.” I am aware that my daily purchase of a buttery, sweet-and-salty, raisin-studded scone contributes to escalating property values. I am further aware that the cappuccino dusted with cinnamon that I also purchase is part of the problem, not the solution. I will endeavor to do better in the future by going instead to CVS for a Tastykake. I apologize.

Nation, I want to apologize for not being in treatment today. My alarm didn’t go off. I’ll go tomorrow.

With apologies to Harry Shearer.