What does the world cost? Oh well, then we'll just take a small coke.


Thursday, March 22, 2007

A Priori Apology

Not to be overly cynical, but what is life, but an endless string of retractions, corrections and apologies? When we're born, we are too young to feel any remorse, but penitence is soon spanked into us when we misbehave as toddlers. As teenagers, we make more mistakes than good decisions and apologies are cheaper than restitution, so we beg our way through a multitude of faux pas. Even as adults, our life follows the same cycle; apologies to the in-laws, neighbors, boss. Even the milkman gets a token expression of regret (“Sorry about the accident; the milk actually looks pretty good spilled all over the interstate, doesn't it?).

As Descartes would say, “I think, therefore I am sorry.”

No matter how much you try to avoid it, an apology is invariably just around the corner. Here at FCN we experience the apology routine with all the regularity of any other poorly adjusted bunch of derelict students. At any one point we are either offending someone, begging their forgiveness or, very rarely, offering forgiveness of our own. It's an endless cycle we always find ourselves on the cusp of.

This fact holds true beyond the interpersonal realm. In blogging, for instance, especially humor blogging, people take offense almost as often as they laud a post (not more often, thank goodness). But when someone is offended, they are ten times as likely to voice their disconent as someone who actually liked FCN content.

You should see some of the hate mail we get! I think one of the faithful FCN few terminally deranged; an amaranthine wart on our small but loyal readership.

Take, for example, the following piece of message whose vitriol was directed at yesterday's post:

FCN,

I think you guys are a bunch of scum sucking pond dwellers. Your post about eating Taquitos (3/21/07) was offensive both for the way it characterized Mexican-Americans and the inference it made about those who struggle with compulsive eating. How terribly insensitive of you!

Awaiting your apology,

A Loyal Reader

And to think, the best insult she could come up with was “scum sucking pond dweller!” Most hate mail is much more creatively colorful.

We here at FCN are very frugal with our time. We can't just go around answering everyone who thinks we live at the bottom of lakes and streams. The latest in Halo technology, sleep, food and the fairer gender are perpetually occupying our energies and it really cramps our style to have to say “I'm sorry” to the first Jack with a complaint.

In the real world it's often true that simple nod will substitute for a ten minute teary eyed conversation and make the violated feel whole again, but the impersonal cyber-existence of a blog makes such expressions useless. For some reason many folks just don't feel “made new” by a Facebook poke.

Fortunately, the Internet has enabled us to apologize for bad actions before they are ever committed and avoid the laborious task of cleaning up our messes after the fact. The following A Priori Apology template should be sufficient to the task:

Dear ___________,

We are terribly sorry for _________________________________. We in no way intended to offend your ____________________ and sincerely regret your __________________. We will, in the future, make every attempt to satisfy your desires and steer clear of any subject matter or terminology that will cause you anxiety. Please accept the attached discount for prescription strength Vicodin as a token of our remorse and a sign of our willingness to improve.

Yours,

FCN

In the case of the young woman complaining about our Taquitos post, this apology read:
Dear Awaiting,

We are terribly sorry for offending you with our reference to our hard working neighbors to the south. We in no way intended to offend your sensibilities and sincerely regret your thin skinned personality. We will, in the future, make every attempt to satisfy your desires and steer clear of any subject matter or terminology that will cause you anxiety. Please accept the attached discount for prescription strength Vicodin as a token of our remorse and a sign of our willingness to improve.

Yours,

FCN

Of course, if that doesn't work, we'll have to unplug ourselves from real life and deal with the problem personally. But the A Priori Apology should take care of most cases.

6 comments:

ajmoreno56 said...

Brilliant!

Hank the Janitor said...

Dude, you guys are brilliant1 Why didn't I think of that? Keep up the good work.

--Evgenia-- said...

Ok good, so it's not just me that has to apologize to someone every 5 seconds... *whew* :)

Lady A said...

I like it...I really like it....

Gracie said...

You scored as Generally Dishonest.

You are generally dishonest. You don't mind telling the truth unless it gets in your way.

Generally Dishonest

78%
Generally Honest 40%

Great, now I feel like a bad person *grins

Jacqui said...

Lame, but cute. Nowhere near as good as Cyrano's eloquence on the subject, though.