I’m Sorry, But I’ve Got Terminal Apologitis
Doc: “Lorna, you’ve got the worst case of Apologitis I’ve ever seen.”
Me: “I’m sorry, Doc. It must be awful for you to break news like that to someone you hardly know.”
Doc: “I’m already over it.”
Me: “Oh, good. That makes me feel better. I’m sorry to bother you with this, but what’s ‘Apologitis’ and what’s my prognosis?”
Doc: “It’s the very rare compulsion to apologize for everything and anything, even things out of your control…”
Me (hanging my head): “I’m sorry.”
Doc (rolling his eyes): “Yes, well, there you go. I believe your case is so severe that there’s no cure for you. You can put your bra back on now.”
Me: “Oh, sorry, I probably should have done that earlier.”
Doc: “No problem.”
The above was fictional. But my compulsion to apologize is both legendary and disturbing.
My incurable case of Apologitis first came to my attention about a year ago when I started dating a man who loves me without reservation. Our first tiff went something like this:
P: I thought there were some bananas?
Me: No, I’m sorry, I ate the last one today.
P: Oh, I really wanted a banana.
Me (getting teary eyed): I’m SO sorry. I should have gone to the store…
P: Hey, are you getting upset? Over bananas? I’ll go to the store if I want bananas. Stop crying!
Me (sniffling): I’m sorry, I don’t mean to cry. It’s just that I don’t want to upset you. I’m sorry you’re upset.
P: I’m not upset. Let’s go out to eat. Would you like that?
Me: Sure. I’m really sorry about the banana thing…
P asks me not to apologize. I reflexively apologize and say “I’m sorry” for apologizing. I’m hopeless. Sorry, but it’s true.
- My husband left me, he said, because he just couldn’t live with me anymore. I apologized for being so difficult.
- Kamikaze Kat Owner was indignant when I asked for proof that “Grumpy” had been vaccinated against rabies and other common cat maladies like Jungle Fever. He told me he had been, but I wanted to see the papers. He said, “Are you calling me a liar?” I responded, “No! I’m sorry. I wasn’t calling you a liar, I just want to be sure.” He produced the proof.
- While at a grocery store, a frenzied female shopper t-boned my cart as I emerged from one of the aisles. She glared at me in silence. While there are no traffic signals nor rules of the road for shopping carts, I’m pretty sure the person who runs into your cart at warp speed is at fault. I tend to saunter around the store and am not known for darting out in front of unsuspecting shoppers. The glaring continued. Finally I said, “I’m sorry.” She huffed, “Well you should be!” She extracted her cart from mine to the sound of metal crunching, and veered off, laying down some rubber (I may be exaggerating a bit–I’m sorry.)
- I apologize to bugs that splat on my windshield while driving.
- When I trip over Scrappy because he’s underfoot, I tell him “I’m sorry.”
- If I was doing to have a tombstone it would say, “Here lies Lorna, she’s SO sorry she died.”
If I’ve overdone the “I’m sorries,” I really am very sorry. It’s a disease.