Last Friday night, my wife, the beautiful Judy Licht, and I had just left a midtown theater and were looking for a cab when all hell broke loose. Forty to 50 police cars with lights blinking and horns blaring suddenly were racing up 8th Avenue.
“What is it?” someone asked.
“It’s a dirty bomb drill,” someone answered.
“Oh,” I muttered over the incredible din. “I guess before they catch the terrorists they want to deafen them first.”
Other than make a great speech, what would Barack the Meek do if a dirty bomb went off in the United States and killed millions? This all had me thinking back to an incident that happened not long after 9/11. There I was minding my own business at a very large, fancy-schmancy East Hampton cocktail party. I was standing off in a corner with my third glass of wine in my hand when this very attractive and incredibly well-endowed woman approached me. She was very serious and looked me straight in the eye. I tried to return her stare but my eyes had a mind of their own and kept insisting on staring at her cleavage. “My husband and I are big fans and we love your column. We want you to write something about Iraq,” she said.
“I do humor and I don’t find Iraq funny,” I answered.
She looked hurt. “I’m sure you agree that Bush is out of control. I’m sure you are as appalled as I am.”
This, boys and girls, is what I call “the moment of truth.” The fact is this woman and her husband may have been the only fans I had in this world. I decided that I would have to risk losing her love and admiration and tell her the truth.
Now that I think about it, perhaps it was my fourth or fifth glass of wine. It usually takes a great deal of wine for me to tell a perfect stranger what I really think at an East Hampton cocktail party. I smiled at the woman, finally looked her right in the eye and said, “Actually, I think we should tell the heads of every Arab country—Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen—that we have missiles with nuclear warheads and that if a dirty bomb or a small nuclear device is set off anywhere in the United States by terrorists, we will turn their countries into parking lots.”
Now the idle chit-chat had turned into a disaster. The only positive note was the woman was becoming so emotional that her breasts were heaving.
“But the innocent people…”
“Well, the way I see it, I’m an innocent person, too, and if it’s a choice between our innocent people and their innocent people, I want our innocent people to live. Besides, a country that is under the nuclear gun is not to likely to cooperate with terrorists. In fact, they may tip us off to where the terrorist can be found. Let’s give the Middle East something to lose if we’re attacked again.”
Then I added, “Let’s consider going your way. Let’s leave the Islamic Jihadists alone to build as many bombs as they want.
“And let’s say they have four nuclear weapons and they give those goons from Al Qaeda two of the bombs. And let’s say that the bombs are smuggled to a country like France. And let’s say that the bombs are then shipped in a container which is labeled ‘Truffles’ or ‘Olive Oil,’ and when it reaches this country one of the bombs is hidden in an apartment on 24th Street and the other bomb is shipped by truck to an apartment in Georgetown in Washington, DC. And let’s say they are both detonated one day in June and a few million innocent people are dead.
“Now here’s the good news: You were away on vacation in Paris and survived, and somehow I managed to survive, and we each made our way to East Hampton. Should we meet, I promise not to say ‘I told you so.’ All I want you to think about is what you would say to me.”
That’s when she said, “You’re Dr. Strangelove,” and she turned on her heel and walked away.
I must admit the rear view of her walking away was just as awesome as the front view.