Some Apologies Are Easier Than Others
Column on Chinese standoff
THE HUMOR OF MELVIN DURAI
The United States has refused to issue a formal apology to China for the recent collision between a U.S. Navy spy plane and a Chinese fighter jet, insisting that the Navy crew was not at fault. The accident has triggered a standoff that resembles a children's tiff.
China: "Say you're sorry!"
U.S.: "No! You say you're sorry!"
China: "Your plane flew into my plane!
U.S. "Did not!"
China: "Did too!"
U.S.: "Well, your mama is ugly!"
If parents were involved, each country would have to apologize to the other, no matter who was at fault. And for at least two months, both countries -- and their planes -- would be grounded.
It's a pity Bill Clinton isn't still president. He was good at apologizing. He was willing to apologize for anything: America's slavery, Rwanda's genocide, Whitney Houston's hair.
The plane collision is the third tragic accident in recent months involving the Navy. If this continues, the old slogan "Join the Navy and see the world" will have to be revived as "Join the Navy and apologize to the world."
I'm surprised the Navy hasn't yet hired a special officer in charge of apologizing. It's a sorry job, but someone has to do it.
It may be necessary to place the following job ad: "The Navy seeks applications for the newly created position of Chief Apologizer. Candidates must be willing to apologize at any time, day or night. They must also have the ability to look remorseful. Preference will be given to individuals with experience in apologizing publicly, such as Mike Tyson, Darryl Strawberry and various other athletes. Special consideration will also be given to husbands who have been trained by their wives to apologize for no reason."
In China, apologies seem to be essential, because they're a good way of resolving a conflict, whereas in America, apologies seem to be optional, because they're a good way of getting your butt sued. As most Americans know, it's better to be safe than sorry.
Of course, it doesn't help that America's relationship with China has long been strained. Like a divorcing couple, each country is suspicious of the other. President Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell have surely discussed many Chinese conspiracies.
Bush: "The Chinese are trying to take over America. Look at all the restaurants they're opening here. Soon there'll be a Chinese restaurant on every street and egg rolls will be more popular than hamburger rolls. What if all those Chinese cooks get together one day and decide to put a little too much 'goo' in their moo goo gai pan? Millions of Americans would fall ill and, the next thing you know, Elaine Chao would be president. And if we happen to get more than one Chao leading America, you know what we'd have: Chaos."
Powell: "I think Ms. Chao is from Taiwan, Mr. President. Are you sure about this conspiracy? It seems a little farfetched, like your theory that Indian women are hiding spying equipment under their saris. Many of the Chinese restaurant owners have become U.S. citizens. They're harmless people, despite the fact that most of them are Democrats."
Bush: "I'm telling ya, Colin, it's all a deception. Chinese restaurants have all sorts of subliminable messages. For example, all of them have small signs that say, 'General Tso's chicken.' They're trying to lull us into a false sense of security. But I know the truth: General Tso isn't chicken. He's the bravest and most dangerous general in the world. Yes, he is."
~~Copyright 2001 Melvin Durai http://www.funnycolumns.com
Melvin Durai is an Indiana-based writer and humorist. For a free subscription to one of America's most entertaining and thought-provoking columns, send a blank message to firstname.lastname@example.org or go to http://www.melvindurai.com
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