04/03/2013 12:55 pm ET | Updated Jun 03, 2013

Nine Things You Should Apologize For

Dave Bry's memoir, Public Apology: In Which a Man Grapples With a Lifetime of Regret, One Incident at a Time was published this month by Grand Central.

You try, sure, but you fuck up.

It has always been this way, ever since you can remember. Before words, even, probably. A crib memory: looking up at a human face--your mom's, your dad's, your grandmother's, a babysitter's--and watching a smile go to a frown. You have good intentions. You want nothing more than for people around you to be happy. For people everywhere to be happy. You would like to be a source of only joy, an unrelenting force for good in the world.

But that's not how it is. You relent in this regard. You slip, you stumble, you make mistakes. You act thoughtlessly, selfishly, to the detriment of others. You say things that make those you talk to uncomfortable. You let the ones who love you down. You break stuff. You hurt people. You make the world worse.

So you should apologize. It doesn't have to be a big deal. Just do it. Don't get all hung up on pride or shame. Apologizing is not a sign of weakness, it's a show of strength. Nobody's perfect. (Especially you, come to think about it.) But you can try to make amends--an act which in itself, I think, makes the world better. Even if only slightly better. Even if not even better enough to make up for the damage you've done.

What's that? You don't know where to begin? You've screwed up so often, done so many stupid things in your life. So many more than you should have. How to choose from your seemingly endless list of regrettable behavior. You're stuck, paralyzed by indecision. And so now here you are, fucking up again. This time through benign neglect. Every minute you delay compounds the matter. Here are nine things you should apologize for today.

Nine Things You Should Apologize For