“How’d I do?” he asked, mopping his brow with a super-absorbent Brawny paper towel. He had just endured 15 minutes with Letterman, and it wasn’t pretty.
No one wanted to tell him that he’d come off as a total dork.
“That joke about my hair worked well, I thought.” Actually, the joke—the airline passenger who took a swing at him had “broken my hair”—elicited only groans from the audience. Worse, his defense of Sarah Palin—“I think she’s great”—in response to Letterman questioning her competence, produced hoots of derision.
“Well, I’m not apologizing for anything,” said Mit. (Mit downsized his name at the same time he downsized his domiciles, so people would forget that he is the richest guy to ever run for president.)
“That’s the spirit, Governor,” said one of the suck-up flunkies who now surround my former missionary companion around the clock. I was the only person in Mit’s inner circle who told him Letterman would just hand him his lunch. Mit didn’t even take my advice about going easy on the Aqua Velva, his favorite cologne—Letterman busted him almost immediately, joking that he knew he was running for president because he smelled so good.
But Mit is bullheaded and never listens to anyone, just like he never apologizes for anything. In fact, his favorite phrase is, “I’m not apologizing.” Thus the title of his latest book, No Apology, in which my former missionary companion (we spent two years together—the best two years of my life—preaching the gospel to the stubborn and stiff-necked citizens of Paris, France) lays out in great detail his rationale for never apologizing. Essentially—to save you the time of plowing through 760 pages—what Mit says is this: Other people might have to apologize, especially to Mit, but Mit never has to apologize to anybody.
I remember the first time I met Mit:
It was the first day at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, and we were waiting in line to pick up our standard-issue missionary socks. Mit, as was his wont, had his nose deep in the French translation of the Book of Mormon, which, for some reason, is about twice as thick as the English translation (the Reformed Egyptian original was so heavy that it took the entire Whitmer family, 13 of whom were witnesses to its authenticity, to heft it).
Anyway, Mit, or Elder Willard Romney, as he was identified as on his black-and-white plastic missionary badge, plowed right into me and dropped the hefty Le Livre de Mormon right on my left foot. (To this day, I have a residual hematoma on the top of my foot, and when the weather is bad, it begins to burn, not unlike the burning in my bosom I felt upon finishing my first reading of Le Livre de Mormon.)
“Watch where you’re going,” Elder Romney expostulated.
I was practically doubled over on the ground, writhing with pain, but still managed to retort, “You ran into me, Elder!” “Maybe I did, but I’m not apologizing,” came his righteous reply.
From that time forward, we became the very best of friends. Nevertheless, he never offered an apology of any shape, manner, or form, as we say at down at church headquarters. I have to admit, however, it sure saves a lot of time, never having to apologize. There were several occasions during our days preaching the gospel in France when apologies might have been in order, either for some breach of etiquette (the French are mighty touchy about breaches of etiquette) such as knocking over an elderly French lady as we rushed to catch a train in the Metro, or for something more flagrant, such as nearly drowning a convert during a hasty baptism in the icy Seine.
As Mit, or Elder Romney as he was known at the time, used to say, “Hey, you pays your money and you takes your chances,” or something to that effect.
On a related matter, Mit is trying to get his own reality show on TV. He’s frustrated that, once again, Sarah Palin has got the jump on him, already landing her own TV show. He is shopping around a proposal for a show called No Apology, in which a camera follows Mit around 24/7, trying to catch him in the act of apologizing.
“They’ll never do it,” Mit assures me. “Hey, I’m not apologizing, and I’m never gonna apologize for not apologizing.”