I Would Like To Apologize
by Patricia Neill
by Patricia Neill
First, of all, I'm sorry about the Holocaust. Really, really sorry about that. I'd also like to apologize for the fall of the Roman Empire, for Napoleon's effectiveness, for China's brutality and for Jimmy Carter.
I want to apologize for the Irish potato famine, and for the Irish in general. Shame on me for inflicting the world with a race of poets, scholars, monks, and cops, not to mention Brendan Behan. I'm sorry for the Hutus using their machetes on the Tutus. Very sorry.
I am hugely remorseful for Rasputin.
I apologize for anti-Semitism, racism, homophobia, sexism, ageism, lookism, heightism, smartism, cuteism, artism, jazzism, and no doubt I've left something out there — for which, I apologize. I'm really quite sorry about the Spanish Inquisition, indulgences, corporal punishment, the British Empire, and the Roman Catholic Church. I'm very sorry about the Crusades, especially that silly Children's Crusade, which was really a big mistake on my part.
I'm really, really, really sorry for Death, Destruction, Plato, Sesame Street, and mosquitoes.
Please forgive me for fast food, rap music, and disco. How horrible I've been. I'm really sorry.
I'm very, very contrite that the Clintons were elected twice, and I am sorry for all their lies. I'm sorry for the poor quality of wood that makes up Al Gore's head. I could have used teak, and didn't. Please forgive me. I'm remorseful about all the endangered species, even, in my better moments, for the Great Spotted Suck Toad. I am miserable about all the beached whales, creamy-breasted bed thrashers, and red-tailed goots.
I'm sorry for black slavery in America, and I'm sorry for the welfare state.
I apologize for public education, the Industrial Revolution, and Windows 95. I'm really sorry about the Rape of Nanking, Pearl Harbor, the desert in sub-Saharan Africa, and the French.
I apologize for any modern invention that has ever inconvenienced anyone, like when your car won't start on a cold morning, and I'm sorry about all the landmines, bombs, and boring speeches of politicians. I'm sorry about Hillary Clinton's hairdos.
I repent the bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, the eruption of Mt. St. Helens, and of course, the Holocaust.
I apologize to my cats for them not having been born dogs. I'm real sorry about the invention of the television, and for the devolution of the human race. I apologize for the Moon, winter, and the color mauve.
However — and get this straight — I am NOT sorry about the clarinet. I had nothing to do with the damn thing.
March 26, 2000
Patricia Neill [send her mail] is managing editor of a scholarly journal on the life and work of William Blake, the 18th-century artist and poet.
Copyright © 2000 Patricia Neill