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How To Make An Apology

Apology on Van

Press Association/Associated Press

This week a man in the UK demonstrated a new and creative way of making an apology to his lover. He parked a van, labeled with a confession, at the intersection of a major thouroughfare.

While we’ll probably never know the outcome of his apology you really do have to give him style points for trying.

The hard thing about apologies is often in knowing whether or not you’ve made a good one.

You’ve probably seen a bad apology before.

Like that time the Baseball player apologized for nothing in particular, and who could forget the “apology” Chris Brown made to Good Morning America?

Here’s something I’ve learned over the years: If you ever end up having to make an apology for the apology that you just made, then you are probably also, like me, a man.

You’ve probably also been on the recieving end of a bad apology before.

Like that time somebody blamed circumstances or another person.

Or that other time when somebody apologized for “if what I did offended you”.

Maybe they apologized to you by text, email, or twitter.

Sometimes a person’s apology features a giant ” but…” somewhere along the way

Some people think that just saying “sorry”, and then sighing, counts for something.

The fact that you know just what I’m talking about suggests that the state of the American apology is in disarray.

So what does a good apology look like?

Having apologized and failed many times has taught me a good deal about how to make an apology that means something to the offended person.

Follow these 5 tips and you’ll never have to wonder if you simply made a mistake, or you are an actual jerk.


The Weight Of Free Speech

Mohammed Abu Zaid

David Lin hopes to open a restaurant next year and his strategy is bit different. While good food will be on the menu, the exterior of his restaurant features a mural depicting Chinese police officers beating a demonstrator while a Tibetan monk sets himself on fire.  Lin says that it’s a political statement about China’s human rights abuses.

Of course the Chinese government disapproves.

Last week two government officials wanted to have the mural removed.

They ran into a bit of a problem, David Lin doesn’t live in China, he lives in Corvallis, Oregon. The Taiwanese immigrant wants everyone to know that he is opposed to the communist government of China.  The Chinese government sent the officials from their consulate in San Francisco to see if the Mayor of Corvallis would put an end to Mr Lin’s mural.

Corvallis Mayor Julie Manning refused.  She explained to the men that Americans have the right to say what they want to say.  That right is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.  That Constitution is one of the reasons Mr. Lin moved  to the United States.

What’s interesting is that the Government of China travelled all the way to Oregon to see if our government would take away Mr Lin’s right to express his opinion.  I suppoe this didn’t seem odd to them because they not only oppose free speech, they have also never experienced it… or its side effects.

If it sounds oppressive and fascist that someone would not only monitor what is being said about their country in someone else’s country, and then travel to that other country to try to get them to enforce your laws in their country, you probably also wouldn’t like what happened in Libya this week.


Hedging Our Bets

Bon Joli

We go to great lengths to ensure that our plans will progress smoothly and then come to fruition.  In fact, some of the things that we do to make certain that we get our way are down right silly.  For instance, recently a Major League Baseball player decided to start using performance enhancing drugs.  To make certain that he would get away with his plans:

He created a fake website…

That sold a pretend product…

That he claimed he took.

Then he claimed that the fake supplement tainted his test results.

Not only did he get caught taking the drugs, he got caught creating the website.  It was a humiliation on top of an embarrassment.

This type of deception isn’t limited to athletes, in a bizarre story that broke last week, book authors have been creating fake login names at online retailers for the the purpose of posting “glowing” reviews of their own books. One legitimately reviewed author in particular couldn’t leave well enough alone:

He created multiple fake ID’s…

Posted high reviews for his own works…

While tearing apart his rivals.


This kind of scheming and conniving is nothing new.  Even a cursory review of the Old Testament reveals that the earliest people spent a great deal of time setting up hedges against even their best bets.

Nobody was better at this than Abraham’s grandson Jacob.

Jacob was the younger brother who wanted the family inheritance. After going out of his way to receive it in a trade from his older brother he still decided to dress up as his brother so that he could decieve his blind father when the time came for the inheritance to be given.

Then he split town.

While on the run from his family he took a job working as a shepherd for his in-laws.  Desiring to increase his own personal wealth, he brokered a payment plan that would give him every spotted or streaked baby animal born to the herd he tended.  Genetically speaking, spotted and streaked animals are more common that those of a solid color, especially when they begin breeding with the solid color animals.

Jacob got rich quick.

What’s funny though is that the Bible records an absolutely ridiculous element to this story.  In efforts to produce more spotted animals, Jacob would make the animals look at spotted and striped tree branches while they mated.


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