Life at the U.N. has been one hilarious, exhausting, outrageous ride lately… Chaos, mayhem, loads of humor, abound. Personally, I am absolutely convinced that reality TV could not make some of this stuff up; it would be a ratings bonanza.
As I mentioned in my last post, On the Edge…, the U.N. has been trying to move away from too much “screen use.” In the world of teens, this is huge. Huge! As Secretary General, I have no illusions that they will all turn to books and suddenly do much more meaningful things, but it has been a real relief to see them all at one table, engaged in communication and providing me with loads of humor, at a time when the burdens of being Secretary General have reached critical levels.
Monopoly turned out to be a real game changer (clever pun intended) for National relations. Things started distinctly strained. U.S. had the upper hand, as he had played the most and (thought he) knew the rules. China had no idea what to do, but his competitive nature could not resist something that U.S. and Denmark told him he could not win. After months of being annihilated by China in table tennis (all those stereotypes are true: China dominates on the ping pong and badminton fronts), Denmark and U.S. were determined to overthrow China.
The first lessons in negotiations came in explaining the game in a language that all three countries could understand: sarcasm and debate… of every single detail. Next, Denmark and China figured out that U.S. might not actually know the rules as well as he thought and screens were used to look up rules online. Official rules in place, the game was on, with Denmark and U.S. making no effort to hide that they might be in kahoots to beat China. There was some clear high five’ing and whooping, at first… until China made a move.
China came out of the gate in warp speed, buying up every single property he could get his hands on. Denmark and U.S. mocked him and warned that he would go broke, that he didn’t understand how the game was played, but China grinned like a Cheshire Cat and continued the quest for domination. Of note, the rest of the U.N. has come to believe that in addition to a superior work ethic, China seems to possess uncanny luck. And in a departure from traditional humility, there was some gloating, as he landed on Free Parking and managed to avoid land owned by U.S. or Denmark.
U.S. hit hard economic times early in the game. For all the super power status, the U.S. is not always lucky. Bad mortgage issues, banking crisis, and a trip to jail left the U.S. teetering near collapse. “This sucks. There isn’t much point in continuing; I’m going to lose everything in the next move or two.” What kind of American spirit is that? But in a made for Hallmark turn, U.S. hit the jackpot and scored big winnings on a huge Free Parking pile and then in quick follow-up China and Denmark landed on U.S. owned properties and gloating took on an entirely bolder approach. “Oh Yeah! That’s right!” “China that’s my property, with two hotels, that’s $1300! Pay up!” Ego-maniacle dictators are apparently made while other countries are busy counting their money. (China: “Why do I only have one dollars, why?”) Note: In the midst of this, China was heard saying: “Look. Look at me. This is a good player. See my good attitude? No matter what happens, I am still smiiiiiiiling.” Peals of laughter ensued.
When Denmark threw the dice and accidentally (confirmed by Secretary General) counted wrong and skipped over China’s properties and then they made China re-roll his dice because the die landed on the floor, he shouted “Ma! Ma! Now they is cheats me!” China’s economy crashed in three trips around the board (reversing all theories of luck) and Denmark held on by a few good properties, but was mortgaging things left and right. Oh how world economies shift with a few short sighted investments and some bad luck. The U.S. claimed supreme dominance on day 6 of the game and won the game. Next they are tackling Risk. With a real map and armies, this could get bloody.
Denmark has developed a reputation for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close skype visits home. All nations and all parties have reached a stalemate in dealing with this issue. The issue: Denmark tends to speak Extremely Loud, and to get the best reception, she sits Incredibly Close to everyone else. Consequently, all involved are exposed to loud conversations, with lots of laughing and gesturing, and it all sounds like gargling to us. No solution has been found to date and currently all hands are raised in opposition and defeat. Denmark has been trying (in VAIN) to teach us all a popular Danish tongue twister, to absolutely no success. If you listen to this link and then imagine it amplified a LOT and then imagine it in your kitchen for, sometimes, hours… National discontent over this issue has hit an all time low. Even The Secretary General Hubby is flummoxed.
China is getting better at the universal language: sarcasm, every day. While driving somewhere recently, the Secretary General gave a sarcastic response to a question that China had asked too many times. China’s response: “Ha. Ha. Ha.” More peals of laughter. Beavis and Butthead have nothing on the laugh China does. (No doubt, China has never heard of B & B)
Yesterday in a return to screen time, U.S. agreed to teach China Call of Duty and China tried to teach U.S. how to play video basketball. For the record, U.S. does not play basketball, on or off screen. China however, lives and breathes basketball. He can regularly be seen making invisible shots from any given spot in our home. When he thinks no one is watching, he even makes an occasional slam dunk. Unfortunately, our high school is highly competitive and China didn’t stand a real chance at making the team. The NBA is still on strike (if the players, coaches and owners had just spent 5 minute with China, they would all be playing ball right now… for free.), so alas, it’s video basketball. U.S. was clearlily struggling and from the other room, there was a lot of heckling and yelling going on… when suddenly US yelled, “Yes!” and China chanted: “Go! Go! Dunk now, dunk! Oh my goodness– do you see how exciting I am!!” So U.S. will teach China how to kill and blow things up and China is teaching U.S. how to dribble and dunk.
Denmark is very excited to be getting packages from home, for the holidays. One package included a whole bunch of recipes. She announced that she was so excited to finally have receipts. “Uh, what?” Asked U.S. “Why would your family send you receipts?” “Recipes!” The Sec.Gen yelled… cook for us baby, cook for us!
<— Sorry, but sexy sells… I’m hoping this brings new, hip readers to my blog. Is it politically incorrect if China criticizes Asians? We ate dinner at the AMAZING new Korean hot pot restaurant last night; a favorite with all countries at the U.N. The large flat screen TV was on and tuned to a Korean version of “Whose Got Talent” or “American Idol.” It was pretty much all-girl and all-boy bands, dancing and singing very pop music. From where we were sitting, they all sounded pretty much the same (male or female) and we just wished we could watch better, as the dancing, styles and outfits were quite entertaining. China asked us if we found the Asian boys and girls attractive and everyone weighed in. For the record all agree that Mike on Glee is a very good looking Asian man. Then, in a conversation that may be used for the rest of the year, China said: “I don’t really like Asian women. They are always trying to be sooo cute. Like little pets, all dressed up.” Oh my. Can I just say that at my age, bladder control is a real issue some days at the U.N.
(It might be noted from this ^^^^ picture that China may have a point. There does seem to be a slight resemblance to Jiggy of Real Housewives of <—Beverly Hills.)
Denmark is in heaven since Secretary General bought a Soda Stream, as an early Hanukkah/Christmas, gift for the family. She does not like the taste of our water and prefers carbonated water. I prefer not to spend a small fortune on water with fizz. So, Secretary General, in her infinite wisdom spent a small fortune (it was small in the long run) on a machine that now makes Denmark smile daily. Ahh, fizz fizz, joy, joy.
It has become well established policy that if any other nation wants a particular food saved, they must inform China several times and then remind him again… and, then perhaps hide that food. China is an eating machine, and as we all learned during The Bay of Cream Puffs, he has no scruples in this arena. Of course, if you want to stop China dead, merely utter the words Cream Puffs.
While watching the Saturday Night Live recently, a revelation that has shocked all parties, rocked the U.N. As Denmark, US and the Secretary sang along to Coldplay’s new song, Paradise, China came out and said “Who’s this?” Denmark’s reaction was immediate and huge: “THIS IS COLDPLAY!” “Who?” China asked. After minutes of establishing that he did not in fact know who Coldplay is (what!), we then ascertained that he also had not heard of U2, Elvis Presley, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jay Z, and then… then he brought down the house when we figured out that he’d never heard of… Wait, go ahead, who is THE most famous group of all time? Where does so much music come from? Unless you too are living under a rock in China: The Beatles! China had never heard of The Beatles! Recovery has been slow on this one. Denmark, U.S. and the Secretary General has been compelled to send links to anything Beatles to China, frequently. Sometimes daily. There are a lot of links people. A lot of links to the Beatles indeed.
Israel and Canada return to the U.N. in just a week and all other nations are preparing for the changes and adjustments that are bound to come. Rooms need to be switched, spots at the table shifted, and adding established countries to other established unions is never smooth. Israel and Canada are bound to bring their own issues to the National scene. Wait until Canada joins the Monopoly board… no prisoners.
Never a dull moment at the U.N. and for the most part, Secretary General wouldn’t have it any other way.
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