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At the risk of offending, I try to apologize

"Lord, I apologize for that."

That's a direct quote from Larry the Cable Guy, who gives fishing lures and plumber's cracks a bad name among the sophisticated set - not that I spend that much time with the sophisticated set.

Oh, no. Now I have probably insulted plumbers, fishermen, Larry the Cable Guy fans and sophisticated people - and perhaps even the Lord Himself.

And now I've offended feminists by giving male gender to the Lord.

See how easy it is to offend folks these days?

Well, I apologize to all of the above as well as the illegal immigrants, Middle Eastern convenience store owners, atheists, Democrats, Tech fans, Yankees, fat women, stupid people, Cynthia McKinney supporters and anyone else I may have offended in my column over the past few months - or years.

I also apologize to the Newton County Public Library for not returning "Aaron, r.f." in 1969 and to Deborah Hawkins for telling every audience that's listened to me speak over the past 10 years about the time she caused me to get a whipping in the third grade.

I should apologize to the guy who took up three parking spaces with his red Porsche in the Kroger parking lot last week because I said ugly things about him under my breath. I did not, however, key his door. I saw who did, but I ain't saying.

Speaking of saying ugly things, there are literally hundreds of high school officials to whom I owe a deep and heartfelt apology for the things I called them under my breath - and sometimes not under my breath - during the 25 years I coached high school basketball and football.

OK. I also apologize for the things I've thought about people who have cut me off in traffic, too. Heaven forbid we offend anybody these days.

If Mr. Joe Croom were alive, I would certainly apologize to him for placing that infamous "When in Athens, visit Effie's" ad in the 1970 Newton Rams football program, which was quite a trick, by the way, since I had already graduated. I certainly should apologize to Jerry and Lee Aldridge for the hundreds of rolls of toilet paper I have strewn over the trees in their yard over the years. People in Russia could have put that toilet paper to good use.

I guess I should apologize to the starving children in China for all the food I left on my plate when I was growing up; and I have probably insulted the Russians now, by bringing up the fact that they don't have enough toilet paper.

See how it goes? There are millions and millions of people standing around waiting for apologies for insults and oversights, real and imagined.

Duke lacrosse players just received an apology Thursday from the District Attorney for impugning their collective character over the past year. The Rutgers women's basketball team received a face-to-face apology from Don (Ignor) Imus for the imbecilic remarks he made about them after the NCAA basketball championship game.

He should apologize to his parents while he's apologizing for growing up to be such a fool.

Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson want everybody to apologize for everything, and some group of people somewhere are bound and determined that the Georgia General Assembly apologize to the world for the fact that from about 1733 to about 1865, chattel slavery existed within this state's borders.

We could solve all the problems facing society today if the narrow-minded state legislature would just suck it up and say that they - or we, or whoever they would be apologizing for - are sorry for slavery. There would be no more prejudice, no more poverty, no more drugs, no more illiteracy, no more crime, no more jail terms, no more absentee parenting - everything would be better.

While they are at it, they should apologize to American Indians, too, and maybe even give them their land back. All except the farm I live on, of course. I've gotten sort of used to it. But I promise to donate any arrowheads I find to a museum somewhere.

Now I've probably insulted the whole Eastern tribe of the Cherokee Nation. Lord, I apologize. I really do.

While we are apologizing, maybe we should apologize to the British for declaring our independence back in '76 and to the Spanish for that whole thing down in Cuba. A lot of folks have wanted us for years to apologize for using atomic weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end World War II when everyone knows the Japanese were ready to quit fighting at any moment - and we could apologize to Germany for the Dresden fire bombings and somebody needs to apologize to me for insulting my heritage by calling me a linthead all these years.

Oh, my. I guess I have offended just about everybody there is to offend by now.

I apologize. I really do.

Darrell Huckaby is an author and teacher in Rockdale County. E-mail him at dhuck08@bellsouth.net.

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