Announcer: With Dick and Janey on vacation this week, we will be rerunning an earlier interview with Mr. J. Foghill Bottom, the State Department’s resident specialist on diplomatic etiquette.
Because President Obama was criticized early in his presidency for bowing to foreign royalty, this interview was an attempt to find out what exactly is U.S. policy on presidential bowing.
Janey: Welcome, Mr. Bottom.
Dick: Or, to put it a little more in the vernacular: Bottom’s up!
Janey: Sorry, Mr. Bottom.
Bottom: Don’t worry about it, Janey! An experienced diplomat never gets flummoxed by a flummoxer!
Dick: …Ah …Eh?
Janey: Speechless, Dick? Great! Now what exactly does a specialist in diplomatic etiquette do?
Bottom: I tell the President which fork to use.
Dick: …Er…What if the President wants to use his hand instead of a fork?
Dick: You know, for eating pizza or a chicken leg.
Bottom: A fork is safer. There’s less chance of dropping your food.
Dick: That’s why I wear a bib with an open pocket at the bottom.
Bottom: I’m not surprised.
Janey: Oh-h-kay, Dick. But let’s get back to bowing policy. Should President Obama be bowing to foreign royalty?
Bottom: The United States doesn’t have an official presidential bowing policy.
Dick: Other than that it’s never been done before.
Bottom: You missed the word “official”. In diplomatic protocol, that’s very important.
Janey: So what’s our unofficial policy?
Bottom: We don’t have one of those either.
Bottom: That’s the beauty of good diplomacy. Nobody can pin you down because nobody knows what you’re doing.
Dick: Including apparently the President.
Janey: Right! Originally the White House denied that Obama had bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia.
Bottom: True! But they didn’t use our cover story.
Dick: Which was?
Bottom: That the King pulled a practical joke on the President and told him that his shoe was untied.
Janey: And when he bowed to the Emperor of Japan?
Bottom: We told them to tell the untied shoe joke story since they didn’t use it for Saudi Arabia.
Dick: But in Japan it was obvious that he bowed.
Bottom: Maybe that’s because both of his shoes were untied.
Janey: Or maybe the President was just getting better at bowing.
Dick: Well, what’s the cover story for the President not bowing to Queen Elizabeth?
Bottom: We gave the White House a list to choose from.
Dick: Such as…
Bottom: Presidents don’t bow to women.
Bottom: Don’t worry. The guy who came up with that one was transferred to Lower Slobovia.
Dick: Does that even exist?
Bottom: We’ll know for sure if he ever gets there. Our second cover story was that President Obama was still mad about the Brits adding to the U.S. debt by not paying to rebuild the White House after they burned it down.
Dick: Wasn’t it insured?
Bottom: Another idea was that the President thought he was supposed to curtsey to the Queen and didn’t because his knees were bothering him.
Janey: You know, I’m a little worried if Obama decides to take a trip to China.
Janey: Well, he’s been so erratic about his bowing that you don’t know what he’s going to do next.
Dick: Yeah, he didn’t bow to the Queen of England, half-bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia, and completely bowed to the Emperor of Japan.
Bottom: I guess he has been a tad inconsistent.
Dick: Exactly! What if he goes to China and the President ends up on his knees.
Bottom: That would be begging not bowing.
Dick: True, but maybe the Chinese say no more credit.
Janey: Still, China doesn’t have any royalty.
Dick: Haven’t you ever heard the expression, “Money is king!”?
Bottom: Wowie! Kapowie! I’d better get an alert out to the State Department.
Dick: And I’ve also got a tip for you.
Dick: Check the President’s luggage before he leaves for China.
Bottom: What should we be looking for?
Dick: Knee pads!!