The apology tour in perspective
posted at 2:29 pm on October 24, 2012 by Libby Sternberg
A tall tale of two fellas (possibly from New Jersey):
So, I’ve got this friend, see? Okay, he’s not really a friend. He’s a member of the family, a cousin, okay? But God love him, he’s a great guy. He’s a stand-up guy, he is. You need something, he’ll give it to you. He’d give you the shirt off his back, he would. He’s got energy up the wazoo, a real “can do” kind of fellow. And smarts? That guy should have been a whatchamacallit—you know, one of those prize winners, noble something or other.
Anyways, he’s trying to line up some partnerships to get some business going here and there. He’s into this and that, see, and he’s always working on something.
And, because I’m something of a traveler myself, I start getting asked by folks about him. What kind of guy he is and whatnot. Is he as great as he thinks he is? Jeez, I can’t tell you the number of times I got that: That cousin of yours, he’s really stuck on hisself.
And I know he comes off that way to these folks but, c’mon, some of ’em got a chip on their shoulders so big they can’t see sideways no more and think the world starts and ends at the tips of their noses. You know what I mean?
But I ain’t gonna knock that chip off. Not me. I want ’em to like me, too, after all. So I nod my head and say, yeah, he’s got his flaws—we’ve all got ’em, right, even you’se. And, yeah, he can be what you call “dismissive” and maybe “derisive” and even “dictatorial”—those “d” words spilled out of me so fast I thought maybe I shoulda been a poet—but we’re all human, you know what I mean?.
Well, I get home, thinking what a great thing I done for my cuz, and whatayaknow? He’s all in my face, saying, what the hell you think you’re doing for me, throwing me under the bus like that? You think I need that? You think that’s gonna help me out, going on some apology tour on my behalf when you know I’m not any of those things you said about me?
What apology tour, I throws back at him. I didn’t use no apology words.
So you know what he does? He takes his story to the local newspaper and tells this reporter all about it.
And, happy ending here—they backed me up. That ain’t no apology tour, they says. He didn’t use none of those words. For an apology tour, you have to say sorry and whatnot, things like that, see?
Maybe my cuz ain’t as smart as I thought he was.
The above is entirely and obviously fictional, because what reasonable person in the universe would not agree with the aggrieved cousin?
Libby Sternberg is a novelist.
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