• January 2009
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My Apologies to the President

Dear President Obama,

It is with much contrition that I write you this sincere letter.  While I do owe you an apology for some things that occurred during your special event, I would like to preface that apology with this: Some of these unfortunate occurrences were not totally my fault.   As a matter of fact, my shameful behavior this past weekend can be explained, if you listen with kindness and tolerance in your heart.  I hope I have read you correctly these last two years and that you will listen with an open heart and not judge me.

Some things happened during your inauguration.  These things could not be avoided…most of the time.

I would like to apologize for harboring malice in my heart during a weekend when every American was exploding with deep jubilance.  Malice toward an elder, who only wanted to celebrate in this moment as much as I and the other two million Americans who jam packed the National Mall wanted.  I know you are the president who stands for unity and civility and all, BUT…

See, what had happened was…

My friend had four tickets located in the “silver” section of the mall.  Two were supposed to go to her brother and sister in law.  This left two tickets.  Now, let me say, President Obama, I naturally assumed that I would not be granted one of the tickets.  This friend had graciously opened up her couch to me for four nights just so I could see you become the first Black nerd president.  I was more than happy with the free place to stay.  I assumed that my friend and her husband would naturally take the other two tickets.

But, then her husband mentioned that he had to be in Chicago the day of your inauguration.  He had some sort of interview that he couldn’t get around.  I still didn’t make any false assumptions, though. It would be too tacky to “suggest” the final ticket be handed over to me.  I merely woke up early the next morning and made breakfast for everyone. Not because I was brownnosing, Mr. President.  But, because I was grateful to be alive during this moment in history.  To be in D.C. amongst so much happiness and hope and extra silver tickets just lying around waiting to be offered to a helpful house guest. I also helped get one or two of the children dressed one morning.  Again, I would have done this even if there was not the question of “What to do with this extra ticket?”

My friend, with no pressure from me, implied that she might be able to hook me up with a ticket.  Can you blame me, Sir?  Can you blame me for then assuming I would have a good spot on that Tuesday morning?  If you were me, wouldn’t you have gotten excited that you might actually SEE the new president being sworn in?  Not just watch it from one of the jumbotrons, but actually be able to see the outline of this blurred figure as he took his oath of office?

Well, Mr. President…

Let me just say it wasn’t fair!  I put in two days more than Aunt Henrietta!  Granted, she had been my friend’s aunt for almost 40 years and had taken a plane in from England, I, President Obama, had made eggs and grits for four grown ass people and three loud children who ran around too damn much!  I brought humor and intelligent conversation to that house days before Aunt Henrietta strolled in, crying her crocodile tears and going on about how unreal this moment was for her and how she just found herself so overcome with emotion that she had been crying on and off for days.  Yeah, right, Aunt Henrietta…

I should not have entertained thoughts of chugging Aunt Henrietta’s boots in the lake behind the house or sneezing on her fragile older person immune system.  It was wrong, I’ll admit that.  But, it should be noted that Aunt Henrietta won the silver ticket by fighting dirty.  Very, very dirty, I might add.

How could I compete with stories like this:

“I remember when George Wallace stood in front of those doors of that school and denied my girlfriend the right to go to school.  I was amazed that he would actually tell  a person who wanted to go to school that she wasn’t allowed to just because she was a black girl.”

I mean, come on!  How could my stories of my students demanding I bring them back pictures of you compete with I-knew-the-girl-who-fought-George-Wallace anecdotes?  By the time she started regaling the room with stories of marching on Washington and being spit on at sit ins, I knew it was all over.  I would be forced to “sit” with the masses…I would commune with the commoners at your inauguration.

I am ashamed to admit this, Barack, but I thought of the B word once or twice.  Not the good B word I used in the last sentence…but the other B word.  The one rappers use a lot.  Trifling, I know.  Trifling.

I am sorry for not allowing my emotions to take the higher ground.  You would have, I’m sure.  But then again, you, Sir, already had a good seat, now didn’t you?  (No judgment here.  Just an observation.)

Since I am in this atonement mood, I feel inspired to apologize for one other unfortunate incident.  You know that concert that Beyonce, Usher and Stevie and a whole bunch of other artists held in your honor.  The one that about 500,000 people showed up to?  Well, I had every intention of being one of those 500,000 people, but…well, some things happened.  Things that could not be avoided.

My friend and I had only planned on stopping by Target for a few minutes.  The kids needed stuff.  And the husbands were “supposed” to spend the time we were at Target actually feeding and dressing the kids.  Well, who could foresee the “Inauguration Sale” at Target (Assets body shapers were only $10!) or the slow pace of the husbands back home?

We did come, Mr. President.  With rambunctious kids bundled up in parkas.  Strollers, snacks, cameras, cash…we DID COME.

But, why did the concert have to be so short?  When we checked the schedule online, there were like a million performers listed so it just naturally seemed like it would go on for like 6 or 7 hours.  

WE DID COME.  Just a little late.

I was inspired by the last two minutes of your remarks.  And Beyonce’s song.  I was so touched by your speech and Beyonce’s song that  I was all hyped up, waiting for whatever was next.

And then I saw the credits rolling on the jumbotron.

You don’t have to say it.  I know it is trifling to show up late to the inaugural concert celebrating the first Black president.  It is beyond trifling, really.  But, things happened. These things were out of  my control.  

I am sorry for missing most of your concert.  I really am.  But, I would like you to remember the sentiments of your inaugural address.  You said that it would take time to put this nation back together.  It would take patience and hard work to repair the damage to our economy, educational system and a host of other things.

Well, Sir, please remember that it will take time for all of us Black folks to free ourselves from the crippling clenches of CP time.  Please be patient with us.

Again, I’m sorry.  When you are reelected, I promise to only have love in my heart during any ceremonies I attend and to show up on time to all events.


A Fellow Black Nerd

3 Responses

  1. Did you check the time when I was sworn in? I completely understand and forgive.


  2. Wow! This is a thorough apology. But I think we all would have been thrown off by Aunt Henrietta. You just didn’t know how long the line was 🙂

  3. “We are ready to lead once more.” — President Barack H. Obama

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