While “researching” (re-procrastinating) a term paper I was working on last night, I stumbled across a hilarious compilation of apologies, excuses, denials, evasions and just plain nonsensical ways to say, “I’m sorry.” The piece, written by a New York Times Op-Ed contributor, is funny itself in an ad-lib-esque sort of way, but the footnotes that accompany each “apology” are well worth the time needed to match each comment to its speaker and situation. I found it was easiest to read if you can print out the column and the footnotes.
As I read I couldn’t help but imagine the reactions some of these comments would receive if I used them in conflicts with my friends, family and co-workers.
If my boyfriend did something to upset me, I could really lay the guilt on him with, “Our trust has been broken, and only love can rebuild it.” (The president of Wikia regading a Wikipedia editor who lied about his credentials, 2007.) Or if he were angry with me, using the Chicago Tribune’s Mike Royko’s excuse – “Unfortunately, the need to babble as often as I do sometimes leads to unintended and unfortunate results.” – would probably fit most circumstances.
In high school, I would have loved to confuse my parents with such gems as the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s “If there were occasions when my grape turned into a raisin and my joy bell lost its resonance, please forgive me,” or medical drama Grey’s Anatomy actor Isaiah Washington’s, “I can also no longer deny to myself that there are issues I obviously need to examine within my own soul, and I’ve asked for help.”
At work, if a source feels they’ve been misrepresented, I can respond cordially, “I sincerely apologize and hope people realize that conversations can be easily manipulated in print.” (Actress Sienna Miller regarding anti-Pittsburgh remarks she made in Rolling Stone, 2006) And, for any copy editing mistakes that make their way into the paper, all of us at the Beacon could use, “It’s three in the morning and the caffeine gets to us.”
And, if you don’t find this piece as funny as I did, I’ll take a move out of Shaquille O’Neal’s repertoire: “I apologize that some people don’t have a sense of humor like I do.” (On having said, “Tell Yao Ming, ‘Ching-chong-yang-wah-ah-soh,” 2003).
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