November 5, 2004


It's rare that a successful apology happens. One where you apologize to someone, not for selfish reasons, but because you're really sorry and you want them to know that, and when the person you're apologizing to really hears what you're saying. Three stories of people groping toward that moment.

Chris Ware


Host Ira Glass talks about the surprising way apologies tend to play out in couples when one person has cheated on the other, based on stories his mother, Dr. Shirley Glass, told in her book Not Just Friends.

And contributing editor Sarah Vowell tells us about the time she couldn't stop apologizing. (4 minutes)

Act Two

Dial "S" For Sorry

Tapes from The Apology Line, a phone line connected to an answering machine where people leave anonymous apologies—but not to the people they actually hurt.

Also, an interview with "Mrs. Apology," a.k.a. Marissa Bridge. (10 minutes)


“I'm Confessin' (That I Love You)” by Brenda Lee
Act Three

Two Words You Never Want To Hear From Your Doctor

Until recently, most insurance companies didn't want doctors to apologize to patients they'd harmed, for fear it could be used against them in lawsuits. Now, though, there's a new movement encouraging doctors to 'fess up and say sorry. There are even how-to manuals and instructional videos. The problem is, though, that some doctors just can't seem to get the words out. Starlee Kine reports. (17 minutes)