945: I'm Sorry
Title text: You know I've always hated her.
The term "I'm sorry" expresses a general feeling of sorrow or grief. It can be used either as an apology (expressing sorrow for one's own actions) or of sympathy (expressing sorrow for someone else's misfortune). Both uses are normal and acceptable, but the apologetic usage is more common. Some people deliberately conflate the two uses, treating an expression of empathy as if it were an apology. This confusion is almost always feigned, as both uses of the term are well understood, and the context makes clear which was intended.
This kind of game, in which a deliberate misunderstanding of language is treated as the other person's fault seems to be a peeve of Randall's, and is dealt with in other strips [].
As it says below the comic, Cueball switches his sympathetic "I'm sorry" when Megan, treats his "I'm sorry" as if it were an apology, and playfully rejects it because the mishap was not his fault. Instead of agreeing with her, Cueball says "I know what I did...", implying that he DID, in fact, burn down her mother's house, an act which she would not expect.
At the title text, "You know I've always hated her." is an explanation for burning down the house, albeit an insufficient one. It is unlikely that he actually burned her house down, but rather is simply teaching Megan a lesson not to nitpick so much.
- [Megan and Cueball are standing next to each other having a conversation.]
- Megan: My Mom's house burned down.
- Cueball: Oh! I'm sorry!
- Megan: Why? It's not your fault.
- Cueball: It's nice of you to say that, but I know what I did.
- [Caption below the panel:]
- It annoys me when people interpret an obviously sympathetic "I'm sorry" as an apology, so I've started responding by making it one.
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