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As Yom Kippur galloped upon us like remembering it is garbage day as the trucks roll up your street, I had a full years-worth of transgressions to focus on while I sat in shul on the holiest day of the year. Not everything made its way into temple as I asked for forgiveness, so what follows are the items that were offensive and hurtful… but not enough… or maybe they were.

I’m sorry to all the new streaming and television programs I’ve avoided in order to watch The West Wing for the seventh time…. But I’m not sorry for memorizing Toby Ziegler‘s monologue from the episode titled “17 People” (Season 2, Episode 18). If you ever hear me use the phrase, “I’ll bet all the money in my pocket…,” this is where it comes from.

I’m sorry to all the heads of bok choy we got from our local Community Supported Agricultural farm. I know you are a fantastic, leafy green, but you taste like friction tape grown from a dirty chalkboard… But I’m not sorry for mastering the art of roasting Brussels sprouts instead. Olive oil and chopped garlic can pretty much save anything, except bok choy, you nasty, bitter outlander.

I’m sorry it took me 50 years to genuinely like and appreciate old school punk rock. Recent purchases of The Stooges and X have schooled me on quality musical rage… But I’m not sorry for not getting into it in my teens, because I was too happy to appreciate it back then.

Speaking of music, I’m sorry for downgrading classical music in my current life to an antique relic that remains on the shelf collecting dust. The epic symphonic music of Mahler, Brahms, Nielsen, and Shostakovich led me to where I am today in my career… But I’m not sorry for being a grumbly old crank last time I had to endure rehearsing and performing the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto with my orchestra. What a romantic, boring piece of self-indulgent crap!

I’m sorry that there are significant portions of classic literature I have yet to read. Show me a list of the Top 100 Books of All-Time, and I’ll show you a list with less X’s than a nun’s dating history… But, I’m not sorry that I have not finished the epic one-day adventure of Ulysses. I’m sure James Joyce wrote it in his incomparable way just to fuck with me. To this day, I’m still convinced Buck Mulligan is the main character, yet June 16th ain’t named for him. Ain’t that right, Leopold?

I’m sorry that I let every email account of mine become bloated with crap, letters, spam, legitimate correspondence, school notifications, and sales opportunities that I allowed to lapse into tardy irrelevancy… But I’m not sorry for not dedicating time to catch up with them all because I’m currently in Season 5 of The West Wing and Vice President Bingo Bob has just confounded everyone again with his surprising competency.

I’m sorry I didn’t read every article posted on The Prompt this year. My colleagues are talented, insightful, inspiring, and clever as fuck, which makes them heroes in my eyes. No counter-excuse from me here. I’m still asking for forgiveness on that one.

That should cover it. I did all my atoning which clears the way for more sinning. Yee haw!  Let’s party with some West Wing and Brussels sprouts.

Jay Heltzer

Jay Heltzer writes attention-challenged fiction, plays bass trombone, digs sloppy fountain pen sketches, and is in pursuit of the perfect cheeseburger.

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