Public Apology: Dear Nick

publicapologynewDear Nick,

I’m sorry I ate your carrot cake.

We were at college, and living off campus in the house on Bragaw Street. You had bought the cake earlier that day, when we’d all gone to Super Stop n’ Shop for groceries. You’d paid for it separately and left it in the fridge while you went to an afternoon class. But our roommate Scott and I didn’t have afternoon classes that day. Or if we did, we decided to skip them and stay home and smoke pot instead. Whatever the case, we stayed home while you were out and smoked pot. I got hungry, on account of the pot smoking, and went to the fridge, where I found the piece of carrot cake wrapped in cellophane. I knew it was yours. I knew you were saving it to eat later. I don’t even like carrot cake that much. Still, it looked good, with that thick layer of cream-cheese frosting on top, and self-discipline was not a strong suit of mine. I decided to have just one little piece. Then I ate the whole thing. It was delicious.

You came home and looked in the fridge and came into the living room where Scott and I and Pete from downstairs were sitting and asked what had happened to the carrot cake. I told you I had eaten it. You were angry-as well you should have been. That was very inconsiderate of me.

But that’s not the worst of it. As you’ve pointed out many times since that day (as somehow, miraculously, we’ve remained friends), what really made you as mad as you ended up being was the fact that I refused to admit any wrong doing.

“You know this is a house where people smoke pot,” I said. “You know people tend to get hungry when they smoke pot. It’s unreasonable to expect a piece of carrot cake left alone in a fridge near where pot is being smoked won’t be eaten. Under the standard conditions of this house, I can’t take responsibility for what happens to a piece of carrot cake.”

I remember smiling a stoned smile at you while you frowned, so obviously not stoned. “Especially,” I continued, just to be a dick, “a piece of carrot cake as delicious as that one was.” You called me a dick and turned around to find something else to eat. Scott and Pete were laughing. I remember feeling happy with myself for constructing such an ironclad argument. I felt like a lawyer. Like Sam Waterston.

Embarrassingly, thinking back, a good part of me actually believed that bullshit. Like, since we smoked so much pot, we somehow lived under a different code: The Marijuana Rules, unbeholden to logic or common decency. I’ll slough responsibility again now and blame the environment: Our life at that college was just that divorced from reality-tuition paid for by our parents, the extent of our responsibilities being to show up for, what, eight hours of classes a week? Make it to a professor’s office at some point and ask for another extension on an overdue philosophy paper? How could we not fall into spoiled, utopian thinking?

But, God, in hindsight, what an ugly utopia. Where any self-indulgent doofus is free to rationalize away transgression so long as there’s a couple other doofuses there to laugh along with him. Where right and wrong can be spun out of thin air, and “pack the bong” is the last word on any subject. (I think there was a Star Trek episode about something like this….)

Anyway, I officially apologize. I was wrong. I hereby accept full responsibility for my actions. I owe you a piece of carrot cake.

Regards,

Dave