Last weekend, my sister-in-law and her 5-year-old daughter were in town. They’re good people. Well, at least some of the time. And by that I mean, that my niece can be a real meanie. A good bit of the time, she’s a nasty ol’ bully, and she’ll tell you she hates you whenever you commit the most minor of “fouls.”

Sometimes she even growls … and not in a funny, I’m-acting-like-a-dog sort of way. I’m talking about the vicious spittle-flying growl of a mad dog. Honestly, over the course of those five days, I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to put Old Yeller down across my knee and paddle away.

Now, Old Yeller may be mad and all, but she’s well trained. In fact, if her mommy calls her out when she’s throwing one of her fits and tells her to apologize, my niece’ll do it. But there won’t be a genuine thing about it.

Which brings us to the curious case of Rusty DePass and the Escaping Monkey.

As you probably know, shortly after a gorilla escaped from the Riverbanks Zoo word got out to the masses. DePass, former S.C. Election Commission chair, was one of them, and he decided to enlighten the world with witty comment about the manner.

And he didn’t just do it to his wife or his co-workers or his buddies at the club. Nope. He did it on Facebook … like a 13-year-old girl with a crush on the straight-haired Jonas Brother. Here’s what he said: “I’m sure it’s just one of Michelle’s ancestors — probably harmless.”

Harmless? Evidently not. As DePasse soon learned, and frankly should have know in the first place. Seriously, Facebook? What’s next sending nudie pictures of yourself to the entire General Assembly?

The comment went viral and the NAACP and others condemned DePass. That said, the Common Sense Police failed to issue him a ticket.

Well, now, DePass has apologized, and the NAACP has accepted it. Surprised? Nah. That’s how it goes.

In fact, if ever there was a testament to the nearly complete irrelevancy and impotence of the NAACP, it’s right there in the apology.

See, some cracker-ass cracker is always saying something that’s racially offensive and the NAACP gets all blustery what with press conferences and press releases — many times rightfully so. The DePasse case was certainly one of them.

But time and time again, this ends the same way — with a half-hearted apology either to the NAACP or to black society at large.

Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich, former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, radio host Don Imus, media mogul Rupert Murdoch, and former Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas have all apologized at one time or another.

Did it do anything to improve race relations? Nope. Did it help one single racist asshole see the light and say, hmm, maybe I shouldn’t be a racist asshole anymore? Nope.

I’m beginning to think there must be like some black market where apologies are traded for goods and services, and the NAACP is really just storing up all of these seemingly useless apologies to construct a new headquarters or something.

Wait. I didn’t just do what I think I just did. Crap. Now I’ve got to apologize.

Ladies and gentlemen of the NAACP, I’m sorry I used the phrase “black market.” At the time, I didn’t realize how racially insensitive it was. I am down on my hands and knees. I apologize with all of my heart. I am so very very sorry.

Wow. That was easy.

Stay cool. Support City Paper.

City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.