Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Woman Assumes Too Much, Sets Off Embarrassing Chain Of Events

Dear Tazi:

I have made a hugely embarrassing mistake, and I have no idea how to make up for it. My husband is a local police officer; he works in the Special Victims' unit, dealing with sexual offenders and other odious crimes. Since we have two small children, I am ever vigilant to keep their Daddy's work at work (he does not discuss his work at home) and keep a regular eye on the sexual offenders' registry, which shows pictures of the registered offenders as well as their addresses.

A few months ago, a single man moved into the house down the street from us. He generally keeps to himself and rarely comes outside. The leader of our Neighborhood Watch told me that he refused her invitation to join; he has also ignored invitations from others who have asked him over for coffee and other "get to know you" get-togethers.

I was curious as to why he was so standoffish, but thought I had figured out why when I decided to run an online background check on him through the sexual offenders registry - I believe that you can never be too careful, especially when you have children! All I had was his last name (it's on his mailbox) and our city/state information, but I was shocked to see his picture come up when I did a search! I immediately reported him to my husband, and asked him to pay a visit to the man.

To my absolute shame, my neighbor is not the sexual offender I accused him of being. He has an identical twin brother who has served time for having relations with a thirteen year old girl and is now registered as a sexual offender. My neighbor is now convinced that the members of the Neighborhood Watch were the accusers, and refuses to have anything to do with anyone associated with the program.

Tazi, I would like to make a public apology to my neighbor and to the Neighborhood Watch, who he has credited with my improper assumption. I am not sure how I should go about doing this, though. I was considering something along the lines of a Christmas newsletter, only it would be a letter of apology sent to all. My husband says to let sleeping dogs lie, but I just can't...


Dear Embarrassed:

Where do I begin? I could address your original behavior (an online background check with nothing more than a last name? Really?) but you seem contrite, and you had the best interests of your children at heart, so I will let you slide without a Paw Slap of Disgust this time; you seem to have learned your lesson.

If you have such a burning desire to apologize to your neighbor, why not do just that? There is no need to make a huge production out of it; in fact, I think sending out a public apology will only serve to further embarrass your neighbor, who has already suffered enough humiliation and invasion into his private life. I suggest that you send a handwritten not to your neighbor (you obviously have his address) apologizing for your behavior and taking the full and proper blame for this unfortunate accusation. If from there he chooses to apologize to the members of the Neighborhood Watch for his accusations against them then that is his business and his alone. It is not your place to apologize to the Neighborhood Watch for additional false accusations.

Let this situation be a lesson learned. From now on, please leave the detective work to your husband and remember not to assume anything!


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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