Here is Mary's response:
I value you as a former classmate and a friend, but we in no way share political or social views, and yet, somehow, we're both decent human beings who care about our families, our country and our world. I don't want to get emails that simplistically slam 'liberal' world views while adding nothing to the discussion of how to bring people together to solve tough problems and make our world more just and caring. For everyone. That's the discussion I'm interested in. If you've got something along those lines, send it, but if not, let's stop right here.
Ouch! In retrospect, I should have been more mature and NOT sent the joke.
Here it is:
From: Stephen Kappesser
Subject: The Genie
Date: Wednesday, April 7, 2010, 10:22 AM
A Genie appeared one day to a destitute Mexican refugee outside an Arizona immigration office.
"Good man," the Genie said, "I've been sent here by the United States Government and told to grant you three wishes, since you just arrived in the United States with your wife and eight children."
The man told the Genie, "Well, where I come from we don't have good teeth, so I want new teeth, maybe a lot of gold in them."
The Genie looked at the man's almost toothless grin and -- PING!-- he had a brand new shining set of gold teeth in his mouth!
"What else?" asked the Genie, "Two more to go."
The refugee claimant now got bolder. "I need a big house with a three-car garage in Annapolis on the water with eight bedrooms for my family and the rest of my relatives who still live in my country.. I want to bring them all over here" --- and -- PING!-- in the distance there could be seen a beautiful mansion with a three-car garage, a long driveway, and a walkout patio with a BBQ in an upscale neighborhood overlooking the bay.
"One more wish," said the Genie.
"Yes, one more wish. I want to be like an American with American clothes instead of these torn clothes, and a baseball cap instead of this sombrero. And I want to have white skin like Americans" ---and --- PING! -- The man was transformed - wearing worn-out jeans, a Baltimore Orioles T-shirt, and a baseball cap. He had his bad teeth back and the mansion had disappeared from the horizon.
"What happened to my new teeth?" he wailed. "Where is my new house?"
The Genie said:
"AWWWW, TOO BAD, Amigo, now that you are a white American, you have to fend for yourself."
Anyway, I liked Mary in high school - she was smart, cute, and bright with not an enemy in the world. I assume she hasn't changed after 40 years(none of us really do) so I was compelled to apologize in as graceful a manner as I could:
This is my reply:
I'm Sorry, Mary.
I can see from your perspective that this thing was in very bad taste and I apologize. In the future I will refrain from sending material like this.
I usually preface this kind of material with the phrase:
"This is just a joke, not a serious commentary".
As you can see, my jovial attitude towards the World has changed little.
Unfortunately at times, like now, it's a weakness.
As a Believer who is now very familiar with Scripture, I know that our Lord requires us to help the less fortunate with open arms. And I do. With my checkbook and personal volunteering of my time and labor on a weekly basis.
However that does not excuse my actions in regard to my offense.
Please forgive me?
Well there it is. I have not received a reply from Mary yet, but I really hope she will accept my apology and forgive me.
I admit that have learned a valuable lesson - thank you Mary!
People less fortunate than myself shall no longer be the subject of my jokes. I promise to manifest my maturity and intellect of 55 years, and try to apply my humor in better, more benign ways.