Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Dan Quayle Joke (circa 2007)

This is a Dan Quayle joke I noted at my old blog when Boris Yeltsin died in 2007.
The inanity  of the Trump presidency gives me flashbacks to crazy moments like this. I'm thinking specifically of a daisy-chain of communications directors and others speaking for the president, working hard to iron the wrinkles out of his crazy words and incoherent thoughts. 

Boris Yeltsin (1931-2007)
April 24, 2007
I will leave it to others to write obits for the late first president of modern Russia.
To mark his passing, here is a great story I remember from about fifteen years ago.

The first President Bush on a visit to Russia and was talking with Mikhail Gorbachev. They were discussing how to pick smart men to work with as they did their jobs. Boris Yeltsin was at the time second in command under Gorbachev.
"When I'm looking for someone to work," said Gorbachev, "I want someone with a quick mind, someone who can solve problems in a hurry."
"That sounds right to me," said Bush. "How do you find someone like that?"
"Well one of the things I do is ask them a riddle and see how long it takes for them to come up with an answer."
"Riddle?" said Bush. "Why that's so easy. I never thought of that. Give me an example."
"Sure," said Gorbachev. "How about this: Sisters and brothers have I none, but this man's father is my father's son. Who might that man be?"
"Hmm..." said the president. "I guess that means you are talking about yourself. If If you have no siblings but your father has a son, then you are the only one it can be....right?"
"Exactly," said Gorbachev. "It works every time. The smartest people always get the answer."

So the president comes back to Wasington and among other things is sharing this bit of information with his Vice-President, Dan Quayle. He told him that Mikhail Gorbachev and he were talking and Gorbachev told him how to find the smartest man in Russia.
"Really?" said Quayle. "How so?"
"Easy," said Bush. "Just answer the question to a simple riddle: Sisters and brothers have I none, but this man's father is this man's son."
"...and Yeltsin got it right?" said Quayle.
"He sure did," said the president. "He's the smartest man Gorbachev found."
"Amazing," said Quayle. "I can't wait to ask that riddle to someone."

Later Quayle met a staffer in the hall and said, "Excuse me. I would like to ask you a riddle and see if you can get the answer."
"Sure,"said the staffer, "Go ahead."
"okay, here goes: Sisters and brothers have I none, but this man's father is my father's son. Who do you think this man might be?"
"Hmm.." said the staffer. "I guess it must be you."
"No, silly," said Quayle. "It's Boris Yeltsin!"

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