Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
h a l f b a k e r y
actual product may differ from illustration

idea: add, search, annotate, link, view, overview, recent, by name, random

meta: news, help, about, links, report a problem

account: browse anonymously, or get an account and write.



Apology Flag

Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa
  [vote for,

Here in Canada we are seasoned experts at the art of apology. I imagine we have the most per capita daily apologies of any country in the world. In fact, we were admitted to the G8 on the basis of our high GDA and its importance in the world market. I once witnessed someone apologize to a rack of movies in Blockbuster Video. Even Canadians, however, need help sometimes.

What if you need to apologize to a large number of people in a hurry, and a shout just won't do? Maybe you're an athlete who has just disgraced himself on the field in front of thousands of fans. Maybe you're in a crowded movie theatre and excessive noise is the reason for your apology in the first place. Maybe you're in a car and the target audience for your apology (a group of enraged pedestrians) is rapidly decreasing in size in your rearview mirror. Maybe you're too emotional to speak. Maybe your target audience doesn't speak the same language as you do. Maybe inclement weather is an issue.

I propose a universal apology flag that can be waved in situations like this. It should be brightly coloured, glow in the dark, and sport an easily understandable apology symbol. The flag would be on a three-foot wooden pole with a diameter that is easy for grasping and waving vigorously. If you don't feel you need one, simply don't buy one, but if you're the kind of person who gets into these situations regularly and feels the need to express remorse when you do, then order one without delay.

Possible apology symbols: a sheep; a dog; a teardrop; a wrench; a dove; an olive branch

Is there a patron saint of apologies? What objects/images are associated with him or her?

earl, Jul 15 2002

Catholic Apologetics International http://www.catholicintl.com/
St. Francis De Sales, patron of the Apologists.
Look through the site and you'll find “Canuck's Challenge”. [reensure, Jul 15 2002]

'Sorry' sign to ease road rage http://news.com.au/...4%255E13762,00.html
CARS could be fitted with "I'm sorry" lights or signs in a bid to reduce road rage in Victoria. [LeBain, Oct 04 2004]


       Handshape: "thumb-up" -- Location: chest -- making a movement: oval shape   

       'sorry' in ASL (American Sign Language)   

       could you work around this somehow -
po, Jul 15 2002

       [po]: Clockwise or counterclockwise motion? If one way means "I'm sorry," I hope the other way doesn't mean "I'd do it again if I had the chance."
earl, Jul 15 2002

       clockwise I believe.
po, Jul 15 2002

       I'd think any particular design would be too hard to read from a distance. How about if some action were involved, such as slapping yourself over the head with it. This would be even more communicative if the flag were actually a big dead fish.
hob, Jul 15 2002

       I rather like earl's flag idea, with just one caveat: Since few of us aside from the Monty Python cast-members walk around intending to make frequent public mistakes, a three foot wooden pole seems like an obvious target for pre-determined discrimination. Instead, I would suggest that you secrete a one-foot "apology flag" up your shirt sleeve upon entering any public venue, and then promptly pass it to the person seated next to you at the earliest sign of any disturbance. That way, you can not only be sorry, but safe.
jurist, Jul 16 2002

       You could adapt the design of a compact folding umbrella; closed, it's a fat tube, about 200 mm long and 40 in diameter, but push a button in the handle and it springs open, unfurling the apology flag as it goes. It could be carried hung from one's belt, like a lightsabre. Of course, check where you're pointing it before you press the button, otherwise you'll poke someone in the eye and have some SERIOUS apologising to do ...
8th of 7, Jul 16 2002

       Maybe an Apology Flare Gun would be more effective...
earl, Jul 16 2002

       earl: I would pay a pound to see that demonstrated, particularly indoors..... I have extensive experience with flares and flare guns and if you want to elaborate on your proposal I will see what I can suggest.
8th of 7, Jul 16 2002

       [8th]: I have no experience with flares and flare guns (except for what I saw in the movie *Dead Calm*), so any elaboration will be pure silliness. Here goes...   

       1) I'm trying to find my seat in a darkened movie theatre while struggling with a heavy tray of gigantic movie drinks, popcorn, etc. 2) I trip on someone's leg and the tray launches into the air. 3) Dozens of people are doused with Pepsi and hot butter. 4) Aghast, I remove the flare gun from my jacket and fire it screenward. 5) The bright yellow flare symbolizes my shame and regret. 6) The flare extinguishes itself in mid-air and lands safely in the lap of a small boy, who is thrilled. 7) I find my seat just as *Minority Report* begins. My conscience is clear.
earl, Jul 16 2002

       earl: Don't believe what you see in the movies ....   

       Let's go through your little scenraio:   

       1) - OK   

       2) - Oh Dear   

       3) - Oh Bu88er   

       4) - this is where the fun starts.   

       Let's assume you have selected a typical flare pistol, a 26.5 mm (one inch) calibre, and have (out of consideration for your fellow patrons) loaded it with an airfield-rated debris-free cold-fallout round.   

       4a. "I remove the flare gun from my jacket and fire it screenward". There is a deafening BANG, louder than a .38 revolver, and the recoil from the heavy projectile yanks your arm upwards, causing you to stagger and drop the remainder of your comestibles. A brilliant yellow star shoots from the muzzle, leaving a trail of dense greyish white smoke to mingle with the muzzle blast from the flare pistol, fallout from which has already severely singed the occupants of the three rows forward of you. Travelling at two hundred metres per second, the flare punches through the screen like a fist through tissue paper, but leaving enough burning fragments to set the screen material on fire. Hitting the hard wall behind the screen, the projectile shatters into dozens of inextinguishable burning fragments, burning for a further five to nine seconds and setting fiore to anything they come into conatct with. One large fragment rebounds through the screen, landing in the lap of a small boy, where it promptly burns through his trousers, causing a severe, deep burn on his thigh. By this point, the auditorium is filled with smoke, the screen is burning merrily, and the air is filled with screams of terror and the wails of the injured. You are not Mr Popular at this point. The fire alarm is sounding and the sprinklers activate. Pretty soon, the car park is full of wet, frightened, angry and vengeful cinemagoers, and in the event that you have not been trampled in the rush for the exits, your most fervent hope is that the police arrive to arrest you and place you in protective custody before the mob identify you and you end up with an internally-mounted flare pistol as a souvenir of your escapade. I will leave the remainder to your imagination.   

       Please do not be tempted to employ signalling pyrotechnics in an indoor environment. It is altogether too exciting. The biggest flares we ever use indoors are about the size of a king size cigarette ....   

       May I once again commend to you my folding umbrella/flag idea ?
8th of 7, Jul 16 2002

       8th, that was a fun post to read! You really do know a lot about flares!   

       I *did* like your springy collapsible flagpole idea. I think it makes a lot of sense. I just wanted to hear what would happen with the flare gun in real life.   

       Hee hee hee! That would be an apology for the record books. I feel bad for the small boy, though.
earl, Jul 16 2002

       earl: That's what this site is for ... all sorts of people have all sorts of obscure expertise. I have 20 years experience with this kind of stuff, and anything bigger than a household match, used indoors, makes me VERY nervous. So it was a nice thought, but don't try it, unless you want to ed up defending a class-action damages claim.   

       What you're describing would be more like a spud gun with a matchhead in it than a real flare pistol, which are lethally dangerous and, like all firearms, have to be treated with the greatest respect. Oh dear, I can hear myself sounding all grown-up and boring and whiny again ... <strikes self with custard-filled sock as punishment for being pompous> - you could always go to the Pains Wessex Schermuly website and read the safety literature if you were curious.   

       You could, just maybe, make an "apology party popper" without risking life and limb....   

       As to the small boy, well, actually I thought that was the best bit (since there were no cats around).
8th of 7, Jul 16 2002

       I'm generally not a typo pedant, but "gown-up" is simply too good to ignore.   

       Along similar lines ("apology in the form of light"), what about an Apology Flash-Bang Grenade? Don't SAS commandos typically use these to apologize in advance to terrorists before they burst in the windows and spray them with bullets from an MP-5?
earl, Jul 16 2002

       Ooops ! Fixed typos ...   

       You are correct, the lads from Hereford favour a very effective apology, specially manufactured by Haley & Weller ... and it is considered Bad Form to spray them with bullets, a single round behind the ear is generally considered good manners in such matters.   

       As a matter of good policy, and possible future survival, don't call them Commandos. There are SAS troopers, and Royal Marine Commandos. Referring to one as the other, is, well .... ill advised; about as sensible as going into a Paratroop mess and mentioning as a throwaway comment that you though only fairies had wings. If you are lucky, they will find enough of you to be worthwhile having a burial service. If you ever meet any of these people, be very, very polite and deferential, and do EXACTLY what they tell you to do, even if it's fetching them a cup of tea. Make sure it's a nice hot cup ot tea, and ask if they want milk and sugar. If they do, and you have none, and you have to crawl a mile over broken glass to get it, then start crawling. It is the more pleasent option. Trust me.
8th of 7, Jul 16 2002

       Good advice, 8th. I had been going along on the assumption that any special forces type could safely be referred to as a "commando," but I am happy to be corrected. The real question is, who are the toughest squaddies of them all? Which branch of Her Majesty's armed services? Which unit?
earl, Jul 16 2002

       [bliss]: I would go to any lengths to protect your modesty, Guinevere of the Halfbakery.
earl, Jul 16 2002

       8th: I have *always* wanted to fire a flare pistol indoors since my high school history teacher gave a demonstration on black powder using a real black powder cannon, loaded with real black powder, in a real (small) auditorium.. it was real loud!
Mr Burns, Jul 16 2002

       earl: If you are looking for the group most likely to win the All Time Dangerously Unstable Barking Mad Nutters award, my personal experience is that you need look little further than 45 Commando, Royal Marines. The SAS have a calm, thoughtful approach which is in itself incredibly frightening, but for sheer dedication, commitment, fearlessness, fecocity and an unparalleled and seemingly limitless capacity for directed and controled violence, 45 Commando have my respect, admiration, and awe. I am incredibly glad that they are "inside the tent pi55ing out".   

       thcgenius: I've done it (with specially made blanks) and it's great fun. The performer who subsequenty used the effect was understandably nervous .... but he got over it. We've used dummy cannons in auditoria, too, but extreme care is needed to avoid deafening the audience; levels of 135 dBA are easy to achieve and that's well into the damaging level. I was lucky with the tests; I could wear cans, the performer just had some little pink foam earplugs (not many officers in WW1 went round in ear defenders).   

       Yes, it's fun - but it bites if you get it wrong.
8th of 7, Jul 17 2002

       I love the idea of an apology flare gun. Imagine it at airports. "Hey, what are you doing carying a gun on your person?" "Ohh I'm so sorry, what was i thinking" you then procede to fire your apology flare and then you go down in a hail of gunfire. hehehe great idea :P
thelambs, Aug 19 2003

       That'd be a rue flare.
bristolz, Aug 19 2003

       I detect a very noticable bias towards one side of the pond in the "toughest bunch" debate. Everyone knows the toughest uniformed bunch is the United States Postal Service.
GenYus, Jun 01 2004

       You are sadly misinformed. For sheer dedication (bordering on obsession), cruelty and unpredictability the Guerrilla Halfbakers are hard to beat.
methinksnot, Jul 17 2006

       I'd like to see a picture of a sheepdog with one tear rolling down its face become a universal symbol for "I'm Sorry" on internet message boards. People really don't apologize enough on the internet.
Bootbuckles, Aug 12 2010

       The Canadian penchant for apology is laudable, and if truly so well known, the Canadian flag itself could be the flag of apology. While the US flag could be the opposite. As George the first said often enough: "I'll never apologize for the United States. Ever. I don't care what the facts are."   

       This would mean, however, that all those foreigners waving little American flags ouside your limo windows aren't there to welcome you. On the contrary, they're waving flags of bellicosity. They aim to kill you.
ldischler, Aug 12 2010


back: main index

business  computer  culture  fashion  food  halfbakery  home  other  product  public  science  sport  vehicle