What the hell is wrong with people?  Give me a break!

Rough Sketch – Rand Paul supporter asks for apology from woman he stomped? An apology guide.

Doesn’t anyone understand how apologies are supposed to work?

First, Virginia Thomas calls Anita Hill to demand an apology for whatever it was that happened 20 years ago.

Now Tim Profitt, the Rand Paul supporter who subdued a woman by stepping on her is saying she should apologize to him.

I know our culture is full of confusing cues about apologizing. There’s that old saying that love means never having to say you’re sorry. This led to a lot of confusion in my past relationships. “If I say I love you, then apologize, which one didn’t I mean?”

Then there’s that Elton John song (this week’s theme!) about how sorry seems to be the hardest word.

In fact, apologies are simple. An apology, from the Greek apo + logia, which roughly translates to “I am fairly certain that wasn’t my fault, but I want to rehabilitate my public image,” is something that Person A says to Person B when Person A has wronged Person B in some way, or Person B has complained about Person A to someone else, for instance, the news media.

The following are a few scenarios in which apologies are called for.

– You inadvertently award the Nobel Peace prize to the wrong political dissident crusader for human rights, because of a Google Translator error.

– While out hunting with a friend, you shoot him with buckshot. You are vice president of the United States.

– You attempt (unsuccessfully) to assassinate someone, then find yourself sitting next to him at a dinner party.

For all other scenarios, I’ve prepared a handy chart. Next time, consult this before you demand or offer an apology!

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