I feel guilty about a lot of things -- as any good Jew should. I feel guilty accidentally knocking an apple onto the floor of a supermarket. I feel guilty leaving it there. I feel guilty returning the germ-laden thing back to where I found it.

I feel guilty about a lot of things -- as any good Jew should.

When I was a struggling student (not to be confused with "struggling adult") I used to feel guilty buying dented canned goods just to save a few pennies. I felt even guiltier buying a tiny hammer.

I feel guilty when my grocery receipt proclaims, "Congratulations! You're five gallons away from a free gallon of milk!" If that's the only accomplishment of mine worth congratulating me about.

I feel guilty resenting a lower life form that has it better than I do, like a dog in Bel Air. Especially if he's nice and never even rubs my nose in it. In fact, he rubs his nose in me! I suspect his tail would be wagging every bit as much if he lived in my humbler circumstances, which makes resenting an equal opportunity wagger even more guilt-inducing.

I feel guilty when I go "exactly" after somebody makes a point, because I'm usually lying. I don't exactly agree with anything anybody says. I don't even exactly agree with the point I'm making here about "exactly."

I feel guilty wishing mandatory jail time for those who perpetrate elevator-interruptis, the one-floor riders who shun walking a measly flight of stairs.

I feel guilty about the slew of sappier greeting cards people are evidently buying their relatives that I'm not buying mine. Why don't I ever allow Hallmark to ask my mother, "What is a mother?" And why do I pass over the one that recites, "Some dads can whistle, some dads can fish, some dads can cook a mean stew, some dads can yodel, some dads can dance, but they don't measure up to Y-O-U." When my father stumbles upon this unsent card at the store, does he think I think he's the one who doesn't measure up to all those whistling, fishing, cooking, yodeling, dancing dads out there? And what about the mushy ones my folks never send me? How come Hallmark never asks me, "What is a son?" Maybe it's because they forgot the answer that applies to me: Guilt-ridden.

My mother's comfortable enough with the computer now to forward me e-mail her friends found funny or profound enough to forward her. First it was Hallmark. Now it's some computer geek. At first I felt way too guilty deleting these forwards. So I'd kill time reading each and every one of them. "You know you're old if you remember... penny loafers... penny candy..." When I had dial-up, it took forever for the pictures of penny loafers and penny candy to form. All right, Ma, I'm a busy man. I have dating sites to visit, come on. I finally did the unthinkable. I deleted one of her mass forwarded e-mails before reading it. I was now equating my mother with spam. And you thought the other kind of Spam wasn't kosher.

I deleted one of my mother's mass forwarded e-mails before reading it. I was now equating my mother with spam.

I feel guilty not opening all of my niece's latest jpegs of her baby. I don't even have patience for digital children.

I feel guilty about making less money than dead people. Elvis. Rick James. Shakespeare. I can't compete with them. I'd kill myself, but I'd make even less money.

I feel guilty killing a tree, to make the paper, that goes into the business card I take to a bar, and give to a woman, who tosses it in the trash.

I feel guilty when people ask, "How's it going?" two weeks after they last saw me, and my life hasn't improved since the last time they asked how it was going.

I feel guilty dropping my chewing gum on the sidewalk, and five minutes later on my return trip, stepping in the same gum. I feel guilty dropping my wallet on the sidewalk, and five minutes later on my return trip, stepping in the gum dropped by the jerk who grabbed my wallet.

I feel guilty ignoring the "serving suggestion" of macaroni next to a sprig of parsley on a blue plate. They cooked it, they photographed it, they cultivated an entire sprig of parsley. And this ingrate wolfs the macaroni down straight from the container, sans parsley. I guess their lawyers stressed it was just a "suggestion" in case I felt like suing after I found out the parsley didn't actually come with the macaroni.

I feel guilty drawing a likeness of my boss on a head of lettuce before I rinse it, squeezing out the water, and simultaneously screaming obscenities. (But it does leave the lettuce nice and crisp.)

It's time for us to put the squeeze on something else: Jewish guilt, an exercise in futility, the kind of exercise you needn't feel guilty avoiding.

Now, finish up this guilt article, because I'm only gonna throw it out.