And ninethly The essence of life is the smile of round female bottoms, under the shadow of cosmic boredom - Guy de Maupassant
Jacques called me two weeks ago in a panicked state.
He needed an incredible amount of help to pull off a "yes" vote on the EU constitution. He needed the counsel of a genius political observer and ultimate modernist. He needed the embrace of the future. He needed me.
Ten hours after I hung up with Jacques an Airbus came tearing through the Nevada skies, aimed at the landing strip near my compound. That's service - the type of service that I've come to expect and the type of service my incredible fees demand. A well-groomed lass exited the plane and gave me a hug, a kiss and a pat on the behind. I returned the favor. A hairy man seized my luggage and off we went.
Most Americans ignore European politics. Rightfully so. We have an Empire to run and better things to do.
Still, I had promised to do my all for Jacques. And after downing a few cocktails and digesting a few paragraphs, I came to terms with the true grimness of the situation.
My longtime friend President Chirac had just a few days to convince his flock of pedants that being a true member of the European nation and a true believer in progress were the only means of French survival. Poor Jacques. Poor, poor Jacques. Imagine delivering this message to a group of people who take pride in treating competition like a whipping boy.
This predicament, as they say, called for drastic measures.
I'm well acquainted with the extreme. My father, for example, was once forced to take a year-long vacation in the hinterlands of Argentina. He recounted time and again the sacrifices he made to keep my mother in pearls and pantyhose. He was lucky to keep his soul. Argentines can make terrible demands. Thankfully, however, my father and mother survived this ordeal and eventually ended up in Los Alamos where papa would become Oppenheimer's right-hand man. So don't tell me about desperation!
I couldn't really be bothered to bone up too much on the fine details of this EU constitution. Instead, I spent hours firing spit balls onto Parisians from the window of my suite at the George V. (This is the only Paris hotel for me. Nowhere else delivers the security of thick, lead walls, the convenience of prompt room service or the Gucci plastic sheets I need to feel at home.) The rank vagrants below would look up after my pellets splattered across their heads. I would wave and wonder how best to invade their souls. In a couple of hours, I constructed a plan.
Like a good boy, Jacques followed my advice. He warned the masses that a "no" vote would make France look like a spoiled, bloated child. The stereotype of fat, cheese-filled buffoons would take hold. I told Jacques to press this with all his might and not back down, no matter how dire things looked. As he spoke, I worked to rally allies from other European nations, and they came.
In the end, however, we learned that even my genius was not enough to cripple the self-destructive urge present here. I had to listen to mental midgets whining about the threat or Polish plumbers, Czech carpenters and Moldovan mechanics. Hah!
Imagine how these dolts will feel as the real competition comes clamping down. Retain the French lifestyle? Come on! India and China will have you working 70 hour weeks just to produce enough decent bread for their armies of programmers, engineers and scientists. You'll watch as the world goes screaming by, laughing and flipping you the finger. I mean even worse than they do today. Wake up and smell your minimum wage existence! The end is near.
Jacques and I plan to spend the next couple of days trying to make the best of this situation. Quite frankly, he finds the whole thing hilarious. In a couple of years, we'll both be sipping Jack Daniels in Madagascar while lazy Frenchmen try to learn how to say, "Can I serve you?" in Mandarin.
But why am I complaining? Europe continues to make itself the easiest of targets for the US and the up and comers. I just wanted to help out my friend, but, in the end, I'm really committed to Uncle Sam. A little part of me likes to believe Jacques is too. ®
Otto Z. Stern is a director at The Institute of Technological Values - a think tank dedicated to a more moral digital age. He has closely monitored the IT industry's intersection with America's role as a world leader for thirty years. You can find Stern locked and loaded, spitting on Frenchmen with a life-sized cutout of Hilary Rosen at his solar-powered compound somewhere in the Great American Southwest.
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