To whom it may concern:
I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to upset you. I don’t even know who you are. If we haven’t met yet, I’ll just apologize in advance for whatever I’ll do that bothers you.
It seems I annoy countless people without even trying.
On working at my job:
I’m in my cubicle, composing an e-mail on the company-issued computer. A co-worker pops her head in and asks: “Would you mind not typing so loudly? It’s very annoying.”
To you, madam, I’m sorry the sound of the keyboard bothers you but it’s the only keyboard I have.
On watching a parade:
I walked to town to watch the 4th of July parade. Because I’m tall, I make a point of not standing in front of people, especially children, if I can avoid it. Instead, I stood further back on the sidewalk. The woman next to me turns and says, “I’m sorry, but you can’t stand there. This place is saved for my husband. He’s parking the car.”
To you, madam, I’m sorry for standing on a public sidewalk.
On a walk with my dog in the cemetery:
It’s a beautiful old cemetery where you can walk your dog on leash. I’m there with the puppy, trying to get him used to walking past people without jumping on them. People walking towards us often smile and comment on how cute he is. I thank them and then ask them to ignore him as we pass by because I’m training him to have good manners.
Most people understand and let us pass but occasionally you meet the Dog Lover Who Knows Everything About Dogs.
I see a couple approaching, so I have the puppy sit at the side of the drive.
“My, what a handsome boy he is,” the man says, “and so alert.”
“Thank you,” I say. “I’m training him to have good manners on our walks. I’d appreciate it if you would just ignore him and walk on so he can learn not to try to greet everyone he sees.”
“Oh, I love dogs,” the man says as he approaches the puppy. “Hi there, fella!”
At this point, the puppy greets the man by jumping up on him, leaving muddy paw prints on his slacks.
“Whoa!” the man says. “He’s really out of control, isn’t he?”
His wife looks at me sympathetically and rolls her eyes.
To you, sir: I’m sorry I didn’t ask you to ignore the puppy as I was in the process of training him. (Oh wait…)