Friday, September 24, 2010

Apology, Inc.

Several days ago, as I was getting my haircut, I caught a TV clip of a middle-aged man in a suit dwarfed by a bank of microphones. Between pauses for self-loathing and tears, he was informing the gathered masses that his regrettable actions had betrayed the trust of both his family and friends. He spoke of the disappointment he felt in himself and the undue scrutiny and pressure that his mistakes created for those he loved.

For those of us who watch the news regularly, a teary-eyed man in a designer suit apologizing for “bad judgment” can only mean one of three things:
·         A prominent sports or political figure has been caught cheating on his wife.
·         A prominent sports or political figure has been caught cheating in the course of their job.
·         A prominent sports or political figure has been caught cheating on his wife with someone at their job.
The particular man in the example I witnessed at the barber shop was University of Tennessee men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl, who admitted to providing “incorrect and misleading information to the NCAA.” However, I have come to believe his is but one example of a market that has remained largely untapped: The Prominent Male Figure Apology Template. With that in mind I have formulated an easy to use fill in the blank style apology that can be read at a press conference or released in writing. Think of it as career mad-libs:

I (insert name here) have regrettably squandered the trust placed in me by my family/employer/citizens and offer my sincerest apologies to all those negatively affected by the poor decisions I have made. I have betrayed your confidence and compromised the integrity of my position/office by my unscrupulous actions and can only humbly request your forgiveness.*

*insert dramatic pause followed by teary-eyed introspective gaze

 And while I am unable to change the past, I go forward with a renewed sense of purpose knowing that those who matter most to me remain at my side*

*cue solemn nod from wife or applicable stand-in

Regardless of the outcome reached by the current investigation, I have decided to resign my position/post/office effectively immediately as my actions over the past several weeks/months/years/decades have proven me devoid of the qualifications necessary to continue the work of this fine organization/administration. As we go forward, I ask the media to respect my family’s right to privacy and I again offer my apologies to those harmed by my thoughtless transgressions.

Thank You.

While the above paragraph provides the basic outline, our staff of “culpability-deferment specialists” will work with you to provide an apology to fit your needs. Packages include:
·         The Head-Coach Deluxe – includes enough material to cover two collegiate recruitment violations, one D.U.I arrest, and four solid allegations of verbal abuse. Available extras include sponsorship money amnesia and up to five occurrences of “spontaneous player G.P.A. inflation.” 
·         The Senator’s Special – includes enough material to cover three questionable campaign contributions, six inappropriate uses of travel expenses, and a single instance of consensual sexual contact with a female staffer. Available extras include love-child coverage and a special racial slur enhancement.
·         The MVP – includes enough material to cover two separate uses of a banned substance, three sexual assault charges (not to exceed more than 1 per calendar year), and a single instance of paparazzi assault.  Available extras include a “manslaughter special” that can be invoked when the player’s own bodyguard/chauffer/accountant dies as the result of a gunshot wound inflicted by the insured.  
Please note that due to a new policy implemented by our underwriters, we are no longer able to offer our “Dead Hooker Mitigation Special” or “The Dennis Rodman Contingency.”

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