World ambassadors must spend most of their professional careers overseas, communicating with people they can barely understand to make sure no nuclear missiles or stupid traditions come their way and threaten their home nation’s way of life.
Our American ambassador to London Louis Susman must endure the horrible weather, lack of dental hygiene and the music of Coldplay while his British counterpart Martin Longden has to deal with how great we are at freedom and concealing guns. It’s no wonder they’ve decided to express their frustrations with having to live their lives in a nation they don’t love by concocting witty jingoistic barbs at each other over the outcome of the World Cup.
The June 12th tilt that millions of fans are looking forward to between team USA and the British now has something extra riding on it-steak dinners! Through email the ambassadors have decided that whichever ambassador’s team loses on Saturday must treat the other to a meal of roast cow.
From: Philip Breeden, US Embassy London
To: Martin Longden, British Embassy Washington DC
Subject: World Cup Bet
Mr. Longden, It has not escaped our attention that a certain sporting event is fast approaching, and that our respective nations will soon be meeting on the fields of South Africa.
My Ambassador has asked me to see if your Ambassador might be interested in a small wager? We will understand if you decline, given the outcome of the last such encounter.
Sincerely, Philip Breeden, U.S. Embassy, London
You see what he did right there? ZING! Breeden is referencing a World Cup match in 1950 where United States improbably upset a superior British squad 1-0 in Brazil.
The Brit shot back a barb laced with historical factoids:
Even for such an exceptionally optimistic nation as the United States, I am struck by the confidence with which your Ambassador proposes this wager. It is testament, I assume, to the generosity of your great nation – since the British Ambassador does not anticipate paying out.
Your email does not specify the exact terms of the wager. May I suggest that, in the event of an England victory, the US Ambassador agrees to entertain the British Ambassador at a steak-house of his choosing in downtown DC? And in the event that the United States is able to engineer a fortuitous win over England, then my man will entertain yours at a London pub of his choosing. Loser pays.
Your reference to a previous sporting encounter between our two countries puzzles me. Since the history of English football is long and extensive, in contradistinction to US soccer, I regret that I cannot immediately recall the encounter to which you refer. No doubt it is remembered fondly on these shores; we have quite forgotten it, however.
Are you sure you want to do this?
Yours sincerely, Martin Longden British Embassy Washington DC
Oooh, now that’s some mighty fine sarcasm. We need to cancel some of the pile of crap ESPN calls ‘programming’ like Sportsnation or Jim Rome is Burning and give these two fellas a shot at yelling each other on camera for half an hour because those were some grade-A lines.
The American wasn’t done, however:
It is with great pleasure, and no small measure of anticipation, that the U.S. Ambassador accepts the terms of the wager. I am surprised, given the well known love of the British for history, that you have forgotten what happened the last time the “special relationship” was tested on the pitch. Of course, given the result, you are to be forgiven for having misplaced that particular episode in your memory banks. I refer of course to the victory of the U.S. over England in the 1950 World Cup.
It is true that our soccer (a fine English word we have kindly preserved for you) history is not as long and illustrious as yours. However, as your generals noted during WWII, we have a unique capability for quickly identifying and advancing talent.
Sincerely, Philip Breeden
Uh-oh, it looks like our nation’s running out of steam because he just referenced a sporting event that happened 60 years ago and how great we were in World War II. That’s like referencing the time I stuck crayons up my noise and demanded my pre-school class treat me like a walrus. It’s not fair to use because I wasn’t self aware then. BUT THIS AIN’T OVER!
The Brit had one more one-liner up his sleeve:
Very well; it’s a bet!
Incidentally, you should know that the Ambassador takes his steak like American soccer victories – somewhat rare.
Call up Gus Johnson because that one was a dagger. As Tracy Morgan would say, WORDPLAY! I have it on good authority that these ambassadors became so adept at making fun of each other while competing in the Underground Diplomat Rap Battle Circuit.