A Universal Apology

I have chosen to open this thread in the pit because it is here that one most often sees threads complaining about being the undeserving object of someone else’s snarking, snipping, rudeness, coldness, etc.

I always shudder whenever I read those threads. I don’t object to them, in any way whatever. They are almost universally deserved. Rudeness and its kin are on the rise in our society, it would seem, and mostly it is uncalled for. I too long for a kinder gentler world.

Not long ago I was struggling with a terrible load, I was caregiving for someone who needed a lot of care, in my home. I would tell you it was hard but that would be the understatement of the decade. It went on for six years and many, many days I thought I’d surely get swept under. Caregiving can consume everything you have to give, at the best of times. I don’t revisit the worst of times, too hard.

When we took on the task a world of change came into our lives. I had to learn a great many things, like yesterday. Meds, diapers, laundry, meals, caregivers, Drs, Rns, Ots, I could go on all day. It all had to be scheduled and managed at the same time I was learning (rather late in life) to cook 3 squares, stay on top of 20 wkly loads of laundry and keep house. Things I had little experience with. Mostly though it wasn’t just keeping all the balls in the air, it was knowing you could NOT let any of them drop or disaster would ensue.

But all of that is only back story to what I’m really driving at. There were days, especially during those traumatic first 18 months, when I was literally at the end of my tether just keeping on top of what had to be done. If one little thing went wrong it was hard to be circumspect.

I am here to confess that I was that person who was snippy, snarky, damn it, even rude to the often innocent persons around me. Meter readers, delivery people, God help me, even Mormons at the door. I was just keeping my head above water and the slightest thing could set me off and I would hear myself saying things I always regretted later.

I would lay in my bed at night and think to myself, by the time this is over I will owe the entire world an apology. When I would confess to my friends that I had spoken harshly to someone and felt badly, they would universally say, “Don’t sweat the small stuff, you’re living an impossible life and under a lot of stress, cut yourself some slack!”
It was sound advice and, truth be told, there was no room to ruminate on things - another day lay just around the corner.

But those times have passed now and while I can hardly track down those innocent parties with whom I was unduly harsh, I long to apologize to someone. For my shortness, and my rudeness, and my short temper. All things they did not deserve.

It occurred to me recently that perhaps I could apologize to y’all instead. On behalf of the people who inspired your threads about rudeness or undue harshness at the hands of another. I know it’s not the same, but it might help a little I thought.

Truth is, since having this experience I am much more understanding of snark when I encounter it. My tolerance is soo much higher. And I’m sure you can see why. Perhaps my story will engender in others some of that same tolerance. Even if it’s just a drop, I’m going to count it a victory.

Every once in a long while, in response to my snark, instead of being put out or snarking back the innocent would smile with understanding almost as if they could read my struggle off of my face. I cannot tell you what it meant to me, it makes me weep to think of it still. Never once did it occur that it did not cause me to do a complete 360, my mood brightened and a smile came to my face though I deserved it not. That goodness would last throughout the rest of the day.

But I’m not here to preach to you to turn the other cheek, that is not my intention. I am here to apologize for the next person who is snarky or rude to you. Because I have been that person and I owe the whole universe an apology. I even considered composing just such a letter and sending it to my local paper.

Please accept my apology and know that you most certainly did nothing to deserve the treatment you experienced. Please know I regret deeply my injurious words. I offer you my most sincere apology and beg your forgiveness.

Buy me a beer, and we’ll forget all about it.

I can’t say I’ve ever gone through as enduring, nor as overbearing a time as you have. But I have, after a period when I’ve been buried with work, or up to my eyes in personal problems, felt like saying what you just did - I just didn’t know who to make the apology to.

Hey, we all get bad at times, and what you dealt with sounds like enough to turn most of us somehow. Welcome back, and thanks for being one of the good guys that saw what was happening to yourself.

Seems to me the classy thing to do would be suffer in silence.


An independent study soon to be published in The Journal of Common Knowledge has shown that even good humans can act mean. The researchers concluded that this is not a new trait, and can be traced to our simian ancestors who are, quite frankly, dicks. The key difference among humans and apes uncovered by the study is the mode of shit throwing upon experiencing stress. Humans, the study says, have a greater tendency to perpetuate the act using verbal means, while simians use a more literal approach.
Elbows, hang in there. You don’t sound like a bad person so just keep on keeping on and try to be good. It’s all us hairless monkeys can do.

It would be wonderful if someone, just once, would apologize on behalf of the world’s bosses, managers, and supervisors, who ensure every day that for millions of people, making a living comes only at a cost in one’s self-respect.

The trouble is that anyone who has ever had to boss, manage, or supervise people will see nothing to apologize for.

I accept your apology, elbows. I’m sorry you went through such a tough time, and I can certainly understand how all that stress could make a person lash out at an undeserving target. At the moment, I can’t recall a specific occasion on which I was the recipient of some unwarranted snark, but I know it has happened to me, and so I figured I was entitled to accept your apology and offer you forgiveness. I hope that helps. :slight_smile:

I’ll remember it, elbows, and give a pass to the next few folks that snark. Thanks for the reminder.

As someone who has just recently been the recipient of unearned bad humor at work, I accept and appreciate your apology. Thank you. I’m going to try to remember to be as understanding as possible to people who are snarking, you never know what kind of load they are carrying in their lives. It’s tricky to do when you feel you’re being attacked, but I’m going to give it a shot.

As a supervisor, I’d welcome an apology for every time I stuck my neck out for an employee to the department head, only to be screwed over when looking for a volunteer to take a shift.

As a boss, I’ll apologize for sometimes needing to overlook the best interests of my worker in favor of the best interests of my company. It’s a hard, thankless job, and I don’t get paid enough to do it.

My apology extends to both Flea and Beware of Doug!

On behalf of ill humoured managers and bosses the world over, let me say I’m sorry I was harsh, you deserve better, and I appreciate your efforts even though I rarely say as much.

And, on behalf of the unappreciative employees around the globe, I extend my humble apologies if I spoke out of turn or failed to acknowledge the work you do protecting all our jobs. I never say so but it does mean something to me.

Thank you to all who have accepted my humble apology. I do appreciate it very much.

And to those who have promised to try and be more understanding when they encounter harshness next, you could become one of those who made some of my worst days more bearable. Good on ya!

What the hell? Whatever, Doug… :rolleyes:
Elbows, I hear you. I was in a dark tunnel for months after one of my children received an ungodly scary diagnosis. It was all I could do to sleepwalk through my days, and I was always a hair away from some kind of outburst (usually undeserved by the person on the receiving end).

It gets better, and it does feel good to clean up your side of the street.

elbows, you have raised an excellent point - and it relates not only to trying to be understanding/realizing there may be a backstory when someone is ill-mannered, but for a whole lot of human faults.

I too have been less than my usual agreeable self when I’ve been under insane stress, and I try to remember that when someone is short with me. And I try to remember that most things may have an explanation we don’t know about – for example, that lady with the two bratty kids she can’t control on the airplane may be taking a flight to see her dying dad for the last time. Or, that super-fat lady who is taking up more than her share of the theatre seat may have lost 50 pounds already and is well on her way to losing more. Or, that person whose shopping cart is thoughtlessly blocking the grocery store aisle may be preoccupied because an hour earlier they found out the lump they’d noticed is indeed a malignant tumor.

Etc. Tolerance is always a good thing – thanks for giving us an eloquent reminder of that.

That’s a very touching and thought-provoking OP, Elbows. Universal apology accepted by me :slight_smile: . I hope things improve for you.

Elbows, all I can say is if the whole world was as mean and nasty as you then it would be a better place! You are a role model for kindness.

You are a sweetheart doing your very best in a trying situation YET you still have enough time and thought to give to others!

Bless your little cotton socks and big hugs!

ABSOLUTLEY! It is the easiest thing in the world to take out some frustration, anger, depression etc on the world in general. When someone is rude we need to think out side of ourselves sometimes.

Last week my dad dies, after not having eaten for more then 12 hours I stopped at my local petrol station to buy a pie.

I handed the pie to the bloke that has served me for years.
“Just that” I said.
“Are you ok” he replied.
At that point I told him I’d been at the hospital all night, he smiled and gave me his best wishes.

If I had gone to some other petrol station they would have thought I was a rude bitch and hopefully no one would have over reeacted!

Sometimes we need to think that a persons experience with us is not their ONLY experience that day. We need to stay kind and calm. Angry shits show themselves as such…mostly angry people are just trying to get through their day.

Elbows, consider this cord struck. :slight_smile:

Thank you for a thought-provoking post. If only more people realized snark is seldom directed at them, it would be so much easier to shrug it off…

I have been slightly depressed the past two years. After a lot of changes in my personal life (divorce, couple of pregnancies gone wrong, moving house twice) there isn’t much wrong with my living conditions anymore. My life is okay now. So, unlike you, I don’t have the explanation of 20 loads of laundry a week for my snark. But I am snarky, dissatisfied, selfcentered, and have been so for two and a half years now.
My curse and my saving grace both is that I remembered how different I was three years ago. I see how unpleasant I am, at people who deserve better. Yet I don’t seem to have the energy to change my behavior; the least bit of added stress sets me off again. I see how I make life more difficult for myself and my loved ones. I see how they become less attentive to me, as a result, and I can’t blame them; I wouldn’t want to attend to myself too much at the moment, either. That part is the curse, and I can almost see how some people wouldn’t want to see their own snark and just adopt an attitude of " it is the world that sucks, not me" .

The saving grace is that I know I can be different. This Impatient Me isn’t the real me. Real Me is cheerful, carefree, energetic and easy. But as time continues, I have a sneaking fear that I might have become permanently Snarky Me. Snarky is as snarky does, no?

Sorry for the rambling. And yes, I forgive you. You probably haven’t even realized that during my own snark, I was happy to meet someone else just as snarky as me. Made me feel less alone. :slight_smile:

But in some small-tight-in-the-chest-way didn’t snarky make you feel worse? The first time you smile at someone you usually would have snarked at you get a lovely warm feeling…and so do they if they notice it BUT it can be as selfish as the snark.

Just for the record I’m an atheist. I’m not selling redemption just that lovely warm feeling when you make someone elses days better!

Thank you for all of the forgiveness offered. I have to say it does help.

Just to be clear, my days as a caregiver came to an end some months ago now. In my struggle to recover from those events I have had time to reflect on the journey. In the end game of that experience, as my world seemed to stand still, I thought about all of the people who had been the victim of my shortness and wondered if I’d ever get the chance to make it up, somehow, to the universe.

Thank you for being receptive to my attempt.

I have stumbled upon a new mantra, which I have adopted, as it seems so apt.

It is Sanskrit, and it is, Ham-sa. (pronounced softly, not like luncheon meat, all the a’s are as in fawn!) And it means, “I am that.”

I think it’s used to help people understand and internalize that they are all the beautiful Godlike things in the universe. Where ever you encounter wonder and beauty you can remind yourself, “I am that.”

Once I’d taken it on, I found it had so many far reaching applications. And it brought me back to this place of owing an apology, something I’d forgotten during my months of recovery. I read a thread about undue rudeness directed at an innocent and could hear a resounding, “I am that!”, and then I remembered.

Thank you again for accepting my apology it means a great deal to me. This board is brimming with lovingkindness and friendship and never fails to impress me. It kept me sane through the most difficult days of my journey, from a very small and shut in world. There could never be enough thank you’s for seeing me through those days.

Still, I can’t help thinking, this is terribly warm and fuzzy for the BBQ Pit, don’t ya think? Anyone else get the feeling someone ought to swear or something?