Mar. 19, 2007: I’m Sorry, But I Don’t Understand All The Apologies

IMaybe it’s because the vernal equinox is near its ecliptic intersect, or then again it could be the pine pollen, but it seems that all of a sudden people are apologizing for the darnedest things, or are wanting folks to apologize to them.

The new chairman of Atlanta-based Home Depot, Frank Blake, has apologized publicly for the sorry service the company gave its customers during the disastrous reign of former CEO Bob Nardelli. Nice gesture, but Nardelli is the one who ought to be apologizing. He inherited a great company full of motivated employees and turned it into Surly City. You don’t think one person can make a difference in an organization’s attitude? My local Home Depot store is a different place now that Nardelli is gone. Employees actually smile and ask, “Can I help you?” Just like the old days.

Former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has apologized for cheating on his wife while leading efforts to impeach President Bill Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky affair.

“The honest answer is yes,” Gingrich confessed to James Dobson, head of the conservative organization Focus on the Family, when asked about his affair with Callista Bisek, while still married to his second wife, Marianne. (He later married Bisek.) “There are times that I have fallen short of my own standards. There are certainly times when I’ve fallen short of God’s standards.” That’s interesting. I had always assumed that Gingrich thought he and God were co-equals.

Some cynics among us believe this apology may have more to do with the former speaker thinking he has a chance to be elected president of the United States in 2008, and trying to get this messy matter behind him, than suffering a sudden pang of conscience. If Gingrich is really serious about apologizing for his sins, he ought to include his ego, which is just slightly south of Donald Trump’s, and his penchant for gross overstatement.

The Georgia chapter of the NAACP wants an apology from the State of Georgia for slavery. Isn’t it interesting that they waited until there was a Republican majority in place in the state before they asked? Where have they been for the past century?

If the NAACP is sincere about seeking apologies, let me suggest they start at the beginning with Massachusetts, the first state to legalize slavery, in 1642. (While they are at it, maybe they can get Massachusetts to apologize for that fat tub of lard, Ted Kennedy.) After extracting tribute from Massachusetts, the NAACP can move on to Connecticut, which approved slavery in 1650, and then New York and New Jersey which did the same in 1664. Then, they need to head over to Africa and find the descendants of the African chieftains who willingly sold their brothers and sisters into slavery as a profit-making venture. Remember, Georgia wasn’t even a colony when all this was going on. Get those hypocrites to apologize first, then come see us.

I have traced my ancestors back for a number of generations and have discovered that we were too poor to own anybody or anything. We were so poor that local mules were embarrassed to be seen plowing our fields. It didn’t help when the Yankees came through in 1864 and burned everything to the ground, keeping us in abject poverty for many years. I have demanded an apology from The Woman Who Shares My Name because she was born in New Jersey, where a lot of Yankees currently reside. However, she refuses until I apologize to her. She is miffed because my ancestors are English and hers are Scottish, and my ancestors used to laugh at her ancestors since their men all wore skirts. Don’t tell her I said this, but I probably will end up apologizing first. Otherwise she will make me wash my own underwear.

I suspect I have gotten somebody’s drawers in a wad today and probably should apologize, but it’s not my fault that some people have the sense of humor of a kumquat. Besides, I can’t help it. It is the pine pollen. Or that equinox thing.