The personal apology for the bogus offense that causes phony pain. This is by far the biggest category of offenses that I putatively cause, and I refuse to apologize for them. When people are offended:
-Because I was writing “My Ideas About Subject Y” and failed to include a large passage about Subject Q;
-Because I’m writing about my personal experience, but the reader’s personal experience was different—DIFFERENT, I TELL YOU;
-Because they just flat out didn’t read carefully, and either missed the point entirely, missed a key paragraph, or somehow read some invisible paragraph that I didn’t actually write, but which was apparently chock full of offensive statements; or
-Because they think “charity” means “liking everything all the time.”
I generally don’t even bother to respond to this kind of thing. I work hard at saying exactly what I mean, and don’t have the responsibility to say things twice to people who aren’t listening anyway. Apologizing to people who haven’t actually been injured is like giving someone candy to make their tummy ache go away: it just makes things worse.
Thanks, Simcha. I hope we run into each other in real life sometime because I know it never works out between Lutherans and Pope-types online.