French President Jacques Chirac late today offered another outburst meant to keep the rabble in line, but this time the admonition was on a smaller, more intimate scale. Fresh on the heels of advising Eastern European nations to pipe down on the subject of Iraq or risk forfeiting European Union membership, Chirac put in a surprise appearance in Nutley, New Jersey, before those arriving for a French cooking class held at Central New Jersey Community College.
Launching a pre-emptive strike on those who might hold certain unapproved views on, say, brie-infused puff pastry or Salade Niçoise, the French leader strode to the front of room 207 and warned that such "childish" and "dangerous" notions might very well get some people thrown out of class or at least marked down a full letter grade. For their part the students, who were preoccupied with hanging up their coats and retrieving notebooks, paid little attention to Chirac, who quickly sprang from the room and made a beeline for the parking lot and his limousine at the first sight of the class instructor.
In a further worrying sign, on his way to the airport, the French President proceeded to gather up detritus from the floor of the limo. Declaring the waste items to be "The Floor Trash Union," Chirac tut-tutted to an empty soda can that it couldn't afford to miss "an opportunity to shut up" and avoid offending the tissue box, the cigarette butt and the wadded-up ball of grape-jelly-smeared plastic wrap.
As an American response, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld publicly revised his earlier opinion of France as being "Old Europe", saying he now considered the country to be what he called, "Old and In The Way Europe."
"It's never an easy decision to put an entire country into a 'home' or, what do they call it these days, a residence for assisted governing," Rumsfeld said. "However, France simply doesn't have what it takes mentally to live on her own anymore. For the past few months, I've been extremely worried every time she got into the driver's seat. However, since the car was a Renault, it usually wouldn't even start."
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