To the Manager of McDonald's #9874:
I am deeply sorry about what happened in your ball pit.
Note that this apology is offered genuinely and without coercion. Indeed, my legal council, Zeke, does not recommend I write this letter at all. "I strongly advise against that," he strongly advised. But it has always been my opinion that a sincere apology is the lubricant that oils the gears of civilization, and so I stand here -- not literally in front of you, but figuratively in front of you (I'm literally in an undisclosed location) -- and apologize, thus keeping civilization lubed.
On that note, I am sorry about all the lubricant that ended up in your ball pit. I'll get to that in due time.
I know that's the only reason you're reading, but I basically need to lube you up a bit first.
First, I should be clear that I am not sorry I was in your ball pit in the first place. Even if it is "frowned upon," there are no laws prohibiting adults from enjoying ball pits. No matter what facial expression society chooses when thinking about a 35-year-old man frolicking in a pit of plastic balls, I was not committing a crime. According to several websites I've just read, as a white male I am the most discriminated-against creature on this planet, in immediate danger of going extinct. My decision to partake in the pleasures of your ball pit can thus be characterized not as the "creepy" and "very creepy" act of a disturbed man but as a defiant shout, a cry that I am proud of who I am and where I'm frolicking.
I'm also not sorry about all the actual shouting I did in the ball pit. Children shout in there all the time without being sanctioned.
EMWestwood Photography/Moment/Getty Images
And display nowhere near the level of sophistication in their political reasoning.
I am, however, sorry that my shouting included so much adult language. While asserting my rights, I ended up losing one of my shoes in there, and it turns out to be super frustrating looking for a shoe in a ball pit.
I am sorry that I enlisted the children's help to find my shoe. A shoeless man interacting with children, regardless of his actual intent (to become shod), was never going to look good. Although I didn't do anything wrong, I regret the way this looked. I particularly regret repeatedly saying "balls" to the children, then winking.
I'm sorry I called you a fascist when you called the police on me. Fascism is a very specific ideology, which is too often confused with any from of authority, especially authority that the speaker disagrees with. Your actions were entirely reasonable within the framework of our free-market-based democratic society. I was mostly just mad because of the implications made by yourselves and standers-by that I might be some sort of child predator, and also because by that point I had lost my other shoe.
I'm sorry I fled from the scene before the police arrived. Not because of how this looked. There was just a lot of gravel in your parking lot, and shoelessly fleeing the scene really hurt.
Maybe it's time to get that shoulder paved? Just spitballing here.
I'm sorry I returned to your ball pit the next day in a custom-printed T-shirt with the words "I Am Not a Child Predator" written across the front in a fun font.
The guys at the T-shirt shop gave me a lot of shit about this. They might actually be fascists.
This shirt was meant to minimize any confusion about my intent. I can see now that society's irrational reaction to the claim that someone is not a child predator is to believe that he is a child predator. It seems unfair that I should be blamed for society's irrationality, and the further I get into this sentence, the more I'm thinking that maybe I want to retract this apology.
I'm doing it. I'm retracting that last apology.
I am, though, very sorry that I then took my shirt off. That did not, as intended, calm everyone down.
Don Bayley/iStock/Getty Images
It really only calmed everyone up.
I'm sorry that I did not let the children currently inside the ball pit escape. The situation at that point was, I think you'll agree, very fluid and complex, what with a shirtless, possible (but not actual) child predator shrieking various things about fascism and missing shoes, and that possible (but not actual) child predator rapidly losing control over the situation. Hostage-taking was not, I maintain, the point of this hostage-taking-appearing activity, but rather it was more of a citizen's arrest-type situation, what with the probable cause I had that those children had stolen my shoes.
I'm sorry for, in the minutes before the police arrived, trying to build a new society in that ball pit with those children, laid on a foundation of understanding and mutual respect and balls. Although this was, I maintain, a beautiful vision, I did again use an awful lot of swearing in making my case, and in its initial stages at least, my new utopia did look quite a bit like fascism.
Aaron McCoy/Lonely Planet/Getty Images
"They can kill you, or you, or you, but they'll never kill us all if we have the will to stand together! STOP CRYING."
I'm sorry I shouted, "You'll regret this!" when I fled again. I knew you had called the police by that point, because who wouldn't, and although I still had no fear of justice, being clearly in the right, I wanted to have a chance to talk to justice on my own, shod terms. No, fleeing was the right move. Mainly, I'm sorry I forgot about the word "rue." What I really meant to say was, "You'll rue this!"
I'm sorry I returned the next day, better prepared to set up a new society of mutual respect in my own competing ball pit I put up in your parking lot. For one, that's probably a violation of property rights, or ball-density bylaws, or something of that nature. Also, my ball guy didn't show up, leaving me with less a ball pit and more an empty child's wading pool, which looked decidedly non-utopic just sitting there.
The lube apology is coming up. Maybe sit down and hang on to something.
I'm sorry I tried to fill my ball-less ball pit with industrial lubricant. This was based on a metaphor I came up with on the spot that made a lot of sense at the time, about my new, more perfect society being more frictionless and accommodating of the unshod and shirtless among us. The metaphor makes less and less sense the more that I look at it, and if I had to do this again, I think I'd have gone with a chipotle mayo and made some kind of zesty/cultural-fusion metaphor instead.
I'm sorry the directions I gave to my lube guy were not more precise. By the time he arrived, I had of course fled the law for, I think it was like the third or fourth time by that point, and had concealed myself while you looked around the parking lot for me. My lube guy doesn't really belong to a profession that asks a lot of questions, and misunderstanding my instructions, he rolled his hose into your restaurant and started filling your ball pit. Your staff probably could have stopped him, had they been trained for this situation. That they hadn't is on you, not me.
This won't be the first time my actions have resulted in a new training video.
I'm really sorry I was hiding in your ball pit when it started filling with industrial lubricant. Having eluded you and the police with one of my clever ploys, I had reasoned that the best place to hide was the least expected place, namely your non-ball-less ball pit.
I'm sorry about taking my clothes off. I was already down a shirt and two shoes on this whole operation by that point, and I didn't want any more ruined by the lube, which, I can assure you, was not of the highest quality.
I'm sorry that once revealed and confronted by you, I nakedly screamed, "COME AT ME YOU FASCIST DOG. YOUR PRECIOUS FRICTION CAN'T SAVE YOU NOW." Again, in retrospect, my use of "fascist" was incorrect. This mistake will haunt me for the rest of my days.
I'm really sorry you wrestled varsity in high school. Holy shit.
Without acknowledging any responsibility, I'm sorry about the fire.
I'm sorry they never found my body. Knowing that I was dead would have provided some measure of closure to everyone involved. Also, my actual passing would have meant that no one in the parking lot would have had to witness me sliding out the door, a pillar of flames behind me, with only a single shoe clasped over my male shame.
I'm also sorry I stole one of your shoes.
In conclusion, I think there's a lot of blame to be shared on both sides here, and I'm man enough to accept maybe like a third of it. Should you choose to accept the remaining 70 to 80 percent of the blame and put this whole unpleasant situation behind us, do not try to contact me. Wait until the restaurant has closed, then in a firm but clear voice, state your acknowledgment of these terms, and somehow I will hear of it.
Chris Bucholz is a Cracked columnist and very slippery. His first novel, Severance, is incredible, coming out on Dec. 9, and available for preorder on Amazon or Apex Books. Join him on Facebook or Twitter.