The Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur (Literal translation: "Win one for the Kippur") is about repentance. Though the full explanation is longer, Jews basically spend 25 hours praying and saying we're sorry. It's like a marathon confession. Or as Jon Stewart puts it, we buy everything wholesale.
There are several traditions that go along with the repentance thing. We don't wear leather because it was a sign of affluence, and we're supposed to be humble. We don't eat, so we're not comfortable or lazy and we can concentrate better on our thoughts. (Though often those thoughts are a variation of "hey, I'm really hungry"). Most importantly, we're encouraged to ask for forgiveness. Which is a pretty good way to be forgiven.
Our forgiveness doesn't come from any higher power it comes from our fellow people. Tradition dictates that the all-powerful being upstairs likes it when we apologize to anyone we've wronged. In other words, someone up there is saying, "Steve, tell your sister you're sorry or you don't get any desert."
I wanted, albeit a few days late, to apologize to a few people I've wronged in the last year. Tradition also dictates that if I genuinely apologize three times and it's not accepted, the onus is on the apologizee. So if you read this column three times, I'm golden.
To the guy I bumped into on 48th street: I really should have been looking where I was going. I'm surprised I didn't see you ahead of time, what with you wearing a purple velvet cape.
To the woman I purposely cut off on I-75: I shouldn't have lost my patience with you. I understand that driving 54 in the left lane of a 55 is perfectly legal. And if I had the life indicated by your choice of automobile, hairstyle, and "I'm with Stupid" bumper sticker, I wouldn't rush home either.
To the telemarketer I yelled at about my status on the do not call list: I understand that you are just doing your job. And though your job is evil, it is merely your job. A soulless, frustrating, jerkface job that you willingly chose knowing full well how annoyed you get when telemarketers call you. Maybe I'm not sorry for this one.
To the fine people at homestarrunner.com: I am sorry I have used up all of your bandwidth by replaying Teen Girl Squad over and over. Maybe if you just released a DVD like I asked, this would all be easier.
To my editors: I'm sorry that I occasionally have typos in this column. Sometimes when I re-read something, a spelling slipup or grammatical gaffe eeks its way through. Thankfully, I have three vigilant readers that point them out in the email edition, so we can catch them before this column goes to print. Thank you, three vigilant readers who need a hobby. You make our lives better.
To the third teller from the left in the bank I robbed: I shouldn't have shot you in the arm. Even if you were crying and I wanted to make an example out of you, I should have found a better way of doing it. Like saying, "hey, stop crying, you example, you."
To my readers: I shouldn't have lied about robbing that bank and shooting that teller in the arm. I wanted to do it, but some woman on the interstate took forever in front of me, and I was so frustrated I missed my exit.
To my readers: I shouldn't have lied about wanting to rob that bank. Really I just wanted a free checking account. But free checking! That's such a great deal, it may as well be robbery!
And to everyone else I didn't get to mention: I'd have gotten to each one of you individually, but the wrongs I committed against you weren't nearly as interesting as the ones I mentioned.
Maybe you should wear more capes.
Steve Hofstetter is the author of Student Body Shots, which is available at www.SteveHofstetter.com. He can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.