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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

I'm Deeply Sorry

by Franklin Castronucci

I, Franklin Castronucci, would like to take this opportunity to apologize to not a few folks in my life, people (and animals) whom I’ve doubtlessly troubled with my thoughtlessness and penchant to plumb fuck things up. So, without further adieu, I begin with apologies to:

Frankie Ripressa, towering fifth-grade schoolyard bully, 1986:

Frankie, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean anything by dozing against that playground fence while you charged toward me like a frightened buffalo with a fully inflated dodge ball in your grasp. I didn’t mean to just stand there and flash an entirely clueless, groggy smile as you reared back and conked me on the noggin with that dimpled dodge-ball. I know my passive nature as a preteen must have put you and your family through … a lot. I’d also like to apologize to all of the nearby students for the sound my head and the ball combined to make upon impact. Once I realized I was in a situation where cranial contact with a dodge ball was inevitable, I should have done everything I could to minimize the loud, peculiarly hollow sound the collision was sure to make. But I’m not just apologizing to you, Frankie, or the nearby students who witnessed the event, but to everyone’s family as well, for all the trouble they had to go through in dealing with my not only getting brained by a dodge ball, but also the mortal sound that it made, as well as the yearlong impression it left on my forehead. Yeesh. Once again: sorry, folks.

* * *

Apologies to “Bridget Jones,” fawn-colored six-month-old pug puppy, Coney Island boardwalk, 1997:

Hello, Bridget. Or I suppose I should call you Mrs. Jones now, considering it’s been roughly nine years since you (understandably) sunk your tiny but shockingly powerful teeth into my right cheekbone. We were crossing paths on the boardwalk on a lazy afternoon when I asked your delightfully relaxed owner how old you were. I had no idea that beige miniatures could be so heart-achingly sweet! Enough nostalgia: I’m deeply, deeply sorry that I took your owner’s slurred suggestion to scratch you behind your ears—even a child would know that stroking someone’s adorable puppy is akin to placing your hand in a chronically erratic wood chipper. Mrs. Jones, I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize for my transparent stupidity. My family and I would also like to strongly apologize to the strolling passersby who had to endure the fountain-like blood spray from my puncture wounds, as well as my pathetically fey cries for help. “Help me! Help me!” I cried—remember, Bridget? Christ, I should apologize to myself. But first and foremost: a big “I’m sorry,” to you, Bridget Jones, for all that you and your family had to go through.

* * *

Apologies to the anonymous woman who threw a fruit cup in my face on the subway, 2001:

This is actually a two-pronged apology: one for my melon head once again being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and one for not knowing the name of the person to whom I’m addressing the first apology. If it helps, I remember that you smelled like arson, and were wearing a lovely dress crafted from newspapers and pigeon feathers. You also seemed to be chewing on something that was giving you fits—an apple core? Chewing tobacco? A hand? Jesus, I’m sorry—I don’t even know what it was you were chewing—but I do remember how we were standing crotch to crotch on a rush-hour 6 train, and how I was trying to lean my head back so we weren’t breathing in each other’s breakfast. I’m sorry if this confused you (I always seem to make everyday things extremely difficult—sorry for that) and prompted you to pull a fruit cup out of your crotch and hurl it in my face. I’m so terribly sorry to have caused such a violent and aggressive act on your part, as it must have been something I was doing that prompted you to dress my face with spoiled pineapple. Once again, this is a sort of group apology in which not only all 6 train passengers must be addressed, but also all the family members of said passengers.

In fact, at this point my extended family would like to step in as a unit and issue a most sincere apology to all of the 6 train passengers, in particular my terribly ashamed common-law uncle who, in the wake of the violent fruit event, shaved his handlebar mustache and took a redeye to South America until things cooled off and he felt comfortable enough to come back to his favorite bar at the Airport Marriott.

Uncle John: “Franklin sometimes gets in the way and fucks things up. He’s not a terrible person, but sometimes he just, well … hey. Just sometimes, brother.”

That’s Uncle John’s way of apologizing. Come on, I’ll buy you guys a drink at the bar. You people ever hang out in the Bobby Brown room on a Tuesday night? Oh, it’ll be great! We smoke cocaine and shoot quail until they wheel us out in shopping carts!