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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Sat, 25 Apr 98 18:00:54 -0700
Subject: Presidential Tact
Forwarded-by: Cal Herrmann <email@example.com>
President Clinton was safely seated in the private "front office" of Air
Force One, on his way as the Chief Executive of the United States of
America, to pay respects to The Queen and Prince Philip on the occasion of
their 50th wedding anniversary. This was to be a highly orchestrated "state
visit", full of pomp and circumstance.
Air Force One stopped smartly at a bright red carpet along which the
President strode to join Queen Elizabeth II in her beautiful, ornate
17th-century coach hitched to 6 enormous matched white horses. The coach
proceeded through the streets of London en route to Buckingham Palace, the
President and the Queen alternating between exchanging pleasantries and
waving out their respective windows to the cheering throngs.
At one point, the right rear horse produced a thunderous, cataclysmic
"denitration" that reverberated through the air and rattled the doors of
the coach. Presidents and Queens are, first and foremost, human beings.
Their first reaction was to focus their attentions outside their respective
windows, and behave as if nothing extraordinary had happened.
The Queen, steeped in decades of experience living with the mundane and
bizarre together, was the first to realize that ignoring what had happened
was ridiculous. "Mr. President, please accept my regrets. I'm sure you
understand that there are some things that even a Queen cannot control."
President Clinton, seasoned as the nation's leader, and likewise steeped
inthe protocols of the Great State of Arkansas looked up and said, "Your
Majesty, please don't give the matter another thought; why, if you hadn't
said something, I would have thought it was one of the horses."
© 1998 Peter Langston