After successfully negotiating the still secret trade agreement with the Martians (fortunately they don’t mind that Twinkies are made of rocks and chemicals), President Nixon asked if I would help with a more difficult negotiation: peace in Vietnam with the People’s Republic of Vietnam, the People’s Republic of China, and some Republican people who were taunting us in the driveway. Our lead negotiator was Dr. Henry Kissinger from Columbia University, a secret university where all students are trained to either work for the Central Intelligence Agency, the State Department, or MacDonald’s (who frankly serve billions more people than do the CIA and the State Department). Dr. Kissinger was previously noted for filling in for Peter Sellers during health problems when Sellers was filming “Dr. Strangelove.”
The meeting with the representatives from North Viet Nam, the Viet Cong, and Burger King (we had MacDonald’s on our side: Burger King went a different route) began ominously when Dr. Kissinger sneezed. The negotiating table was too close to an open window where pollen was entering. The North Vietnamese representative declared that sneezing is a sign of weakness. It was his theory that sneezing comes from a reaction from flaked skin and dandruff and that if one sneezed, it meant one was allergic to oneself. He insisted that he never sneezed, because his body was in full acceptance of who he was, as a man, namely a woman who looks wears dresses at night. He argued that he (and she) never trusted a person who sneezed at what flaked from that person’s body. I tried to point to the ragweed, hay, cut grass, and strong perfume stand had all been strangely located by Bob's Big Boys associates (who we suspected we secretly aligned with Burger King, which is why today you find very few Bob's Big Boys left) in locations close to the open window.
We spent months just arguing over what the negotiating table should be before we could begin negotiating. We wanted the table moved to the middle of the room. The Burger King representative wanted the table placed in a dark corner next to the kitchen, which made no sense especially since the kitchen staff sang off key Bob Dylan songs in a manner which ironically made them on key.
Kissinger’s suggestion of bar stools and then bean bags were immediate rejected. The North Vietnamese delegation insisted we stand through the negotiations. We suggested they stand while we sit on massage chairs. They then insisted they get the massage chairs and we stand. We stated they could have the massage chairs if we could have the bar stools. This might have worked yet, unknown to us, the Viet Cong delegation had secretly sold the bar stools to pay a gambling debt with the Burger King delegation.
The situation escalated when one of the North Vietnamese delegates hung a picture of Chairman Mao in the room. Dr. Kissinger and I thought it was actually a nice photo yet one of the other North Vietnamese delegates insisted on replacing the Mao Tse Tung picture with a picture of Leonid Brezhnez. Frankly, that photo had him in a bathing suit and was not a flattering photograph. Then one of the North Vietnamese delegates hung up a face shot of Jane Fonda. Kissinger then hung up a poster of Jane Fonda in a bathing suit. We all finally settled on the photo of Jane Fonda in a bathing suit.
After months of negotiating tables, chairs, photos, who is was that kept cutting the cheese, it was amazing that it then took us only seven minutes to negotiate an end to the Vietnam War. Unfortunately, just as we were all about to sign it, everything feel apart.
The North Vietnamese representative sneezed. He left the room in shame, and the negotiations were off.