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The Column

Column of Atonement
9/26/04

The Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur (Literal translation: "Win one for the Kippur") is about repentance. Though the full explanation is longer, Jews basically spend 25 hours praying and saying we're sorry. It's like a marathon confession. Or as Jon Stewart puts it, we buy everything wholesale.

There are several traditions that go along with the repentance thing. We don't wear leather because it was a sign of affluence, and we're supposed to be humble. We don't eat, so we're not comfortable or lazy and we can concentrate better on our thoughts. (Though often those thoughts are a variation of "hey, I'm really hungry"). Most importantly, we're encouraged to ask for forgiveness. Which is a pretty good way to be forgiven.

Our forgiveness doesn't come from any higher power - it comes from our fellow people. Tradition dictates that the all-powerful being upstairs likes it when we apologize to anyone we've wronged. In other words, someone up there is saying, "Steve, tell your sister you're sorry or you don't get any desert."

I wanted, albeit a few days late, to apologize to a few people I've wronged in the last year. Tradition also dictates that if I genuinely apologize three times and it's not accepted, the onus is on the apologizee. So if you read this column three times, I'm golden.

To the guy I bumped into on 48th street: I really should have been looking where I was going. I'm surprised I didn't see you ahead of time, what with you wearing a purple velvet cape.

To the woman I purposely cut off on I-75: I shouldn't have lost my patience with you. I understand that driving 54 in the left lane of a 55 is perfectly legal. And if I had the life indicated by your choice of automobile, hairstyle, and "I'm with Stupid" bumper sticker, I wouldn't rush home either.

To the telemarketer I yelled at about my status on the do not call list: I understand that you are just doing your job. And though your job is evil, it is merely your job. A soulless, frustrating, jerkface job that you willingly chose knowing full well how annoyed you get when telemarketers call you. Maybe I'm not sorry for this one.

To the fine people at homestarrunner.com: I am sorry I have used up all of your bandwidth by replaying Teen Girl Squad over and over. Maybe if you just released a DVD like I asked, this would all be easier.

To my editors: I'm sorry that I occasionally have typos in this column. Sometimes when I re-read something, a spelling slipup or grammatical gaffe eeks its way through. Thankfully, I have three vigilant readers that point them out in the email edition, so we can catch them before this column goes to print. Thank you, three vigilant readers who need a hobby. You make our lives better.

To the third teller from the left in the bank I robbed: I shouldn't have shot you in the arm. Even if you were crying and I wanted to make an example out of you, I should have found a better way of doing it. Like saying, "hey, stop crying, you example, you."

To my readers: I shouldn't have lied about robbing that bank and shooting that teller in the arm. I wanted to do it, but some woman on the interstate took forever in front of me, and I was so frustrated I missed my exit.

To my readers: I shouldn't have lied about wanting to rob that bank. Really I just wanted a free checking account. But free checking! That's such a great deal, it may as well be robbery!

And to everyone else I didn't get to mention: I'd have gotten to each one of you individually, but the wrongs I committed against you weren't nearly as interesting as the ones I mentioned.

Maybe you should wear more capes.

Archives
*Kings vs. Sports Illustrated
*Paris Hilton is No Mother Theresa
*Putting the "Fan" in "Fanatic"
*Thinking Man: Happy New Year
*Jewzapalooza
*I'm Listening
*Punky Brewster Scares Me
*Don't Get Smart With Me
*Checking Out a Check Up
*Yeah, Thanks
*Steve Hofstetter is Your Friend
*Post Halloween Wrap-Up
*My Letter to Me
*The Night the Heat Went Off
*Turn That Crap Off
*You Might Be a Redhead If
*To My Future Children
*Shine Your Shoes, Mista?
*Flying Forward
*DotCom Dating Dish
*Paging Paige Page
*Watch While You Eat
*You Have Got to Be Kidding Me
*Come Home, Rachel I. K'Benjamin
*Get Out Of My Bathroom
*Subway Going Under
*Driving Forces
*Singles Anonymous
*Know When to Fold Em
*The Mirth of America
*Also Known As
*Smooth Criminal
*What That Mass Email Really Said
*Dude, Where's Your Car?
*Thinking Man: Can't We All
*You Might Be a Redneck
*A Nice Hawaiian Punch
*100,000 Friends
*Mine is Bigger Than Yours
*Good Answer
*T Stands for Terrible
*I Love You Guys
*Mitch, All Gone
*Birth of a Hate Mail Archive
*Never Do Today What...Ooh, Shiny
*Can You Hear Me Now?
*Fast Food, Slow Digestion
*Homeland Security, Eh?
*Quality Training Purposes
*The Show Went On
*Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?
*Putting My Foot Down
*Breaking the Chain Mail
*Happy Valmochrismaweenygiving
*Mr. Clean's Illegitimate Brother
*The Quest For 10,000 Friends
*Forgetting Paris
*Magnetically Challenged
*New Year's at the Barefoot Boogie
*Instant Carma's Gonna Get Me
*The Biggest Loser
*Steve vs. Kentucky
*Gone in a Flash
*How to Destroy Your Car
*Ghouls, Goblins, and Candidates
*My Freedom From Your Freedom
*Drive Unto Others
*Please Don't See This Movie
*I Love The Clip Shows
*Column of Atonement
*Happy Anniversary, Sugarhill
*Life, 9/11, and the Interstate
*Your Band Sucks
*Spending Wisely
*The Blind Dating the Blind
*Grilled Cheese With a Side of Hip Hop
*The Drive to 25
*Are You There Margaret? It's Me, God.
*Mansion, Apartment, Shack, House
*Seacrest! Out!
*Harder Than You Think
*Glad To Be Here
*Thought for Food
*Feeding the Meter
*She's Ready For Her Close Up
*Paging John Hughes
*Excusing America's Gas Problem
*Extra, Extra, Extra Long Time
*The Finals Countdown
*Your Friends and Mine
*The Future Mrs. Bueller
*Toasting Not Toasting
*A Tall Order
*Snaking Your Engine
*My Hair is the Color of Tomato Soup
*The Solace System
*You Say Potato
*It’s Getting Less Cold in Here
*This is Not a Virus
*Pitchers and Catchers
*Another Night Not at the Movies
*Higher and Higher
*To Write A Wrong
*They Call it Super for a Reason
*Imagine All the People
*Lost Wages, Nevada
*This Just In
*Why Are All My Stands Red?
*For Whom the Wedding Bell Tolls
*Silent One Day Sale, Holy One Day Sale
*I Want To Be That Guy
*Felicity Doesn't Always Mean Happiness
*That Time of Year
*My Cranberry Sauce Looks like a Can
*The Legend of Fat Dead Steve
*Two Beldings in One Building
*Happy Halloween From Happy Valley
*Three Stations and Nothing On
*15 Shots of Nostalgia
*Here's To the Dancing Guy
*Teaching an Old Dog New Sticks
*If You Could Choose Just One Dumb Question...
*Obligatory Pun on The Word Tired
*I've Grown Accustomed to Your Wet Nose
*What Do You Want For Your Birthday?
*What a Long, Strange Trip
*Open Letter to My UPS Man
*That Better Be Your Foot
*The Abandoned Lot is Always Greener
*Putting Down the Pieces
*Take One Down, Pass It Around
*Here, You Throw This Away
*Being Green at the Box Office
*Who Wears Short Shorts?
*America is an Okay Place to Be
*You Can't Stop the Rain
*Don't Feed the Alpha Males
*Don’t Sweat It
*The Special Plate Blues
*You Deserve It
*The Return to Popcopy
*They're Real, and They're Spectacular
*Keeping Your Prom Misses
*Guerillas in Our Midst
*That Weird No Bread Holiday
*The Ballad of the Buttless
*Something About Being Twenty-Something
*Have You Seen My Cell Phone?
*War, Huh, Yeah, What Is It Good For?
*Leggo My Ego
*I'm a Spazz, You're a Spazz
*Can I Please Keep My Pants?
*Engaged in Conversation
*Welcome to PopCopy
*Hold Me Closer, Tiny Bathroom
*My Two-Bedroom Furbee
*All’s Fare in Love and Daytona
*Open? Shut Them
*I Am Everyday Pimple
*Here Comes the Judge Show
*When, Praytell, Were The Days of Auld Lang Syne?
*What Are You Up To This Weekend?
*The Waiting is the Hardest Part
*A Night Not at the Movies
*Funny, You Don’t Look Flu-ish
*Does This Baby Come With Airbags?
*When The Hogan Family Was Still Valerie
*Blue (Haired) Tuesday
*In Loco Parents
*Moving Is Like A Vaccuum: It Sucks
*Thou Shalt Not Save the World and Get the Girl
*Like Oil and Stuff That Hates Oil
*How to Get Hatemail
*Fungi, Octopi, What’s the Plural of Bus? (Part I
*Fungi, Octopi, What’s the Plural of Bus? (Part I
*It Happens to the Best of Us
*Talking To A Piece of Junk Mail
*When You Can’t See the Forest for the Trees
*ICFS Disorder and Celebrity Kid Growth
*Electricity and Other Things They Cut Off
*When Pigeons Fly
*Goodbye, New York, Goodbye
*La La La-la La La, Sing a Happy Song
*What To Do at Work Besides Work
*Why is This Column Different From All Others?