Jimmy Carter has been elected president; Henry Kissinger is, therefore, returning to private life after eight years of public service. I think it only fitting that we give this great man due tribute for what he has done for the world.
The best way to do this is to relate to you a true story of how Henry's policies have brought a just and lasting peace to my hometown.
For years and years, as far back as anybody can remember, there had been disturbances in Universal City. Children, for generations, have fought. Who knows how many eyes have been blackened, how many noses have been bloodied, or how many teeth have been chipped. And then, if you will, ponder for a moment the immeasurable residual effects of these disputes; bruised egos, torn clothing, upset mothers, and angry fathers.
By nature, I am an altruistic (some say meddlesome) person. For this reason, I had been doing my best to stop these nasty disputes for over 40 years. During this time, I had talked to, spanked, and even bribed children in order to make them stop fighting. Until a year ago, I had had no success. It was then that I, in desperation, applied Henry's techniques. Since that time, there had been one minor fight. I again applied one of Henry's techniques, and I am now certain that there will never again be a fight in Universal City. Henry has brought us peace forever.
Allow me to recount just a few of the details. Tom and Jeff were the two boys responsible for most of the fighting. Both were 11 years old, both weighed 90 pounds, and both loved to fight. The cries and screams of their daily battles echoed throughout the neighborhood, and nothing I did would stop the fights.
After one particularly gruesome affair I found Tom nursing a bloody nose, and it was then that I pulled my first Henry:
"Tom," I asked, "Why do you and Jeff fight?"
"Because we hate each other," he replied irritably. "Haven't we been through this before?"
"Tom, if I were to give you an ice pick and two dollars worth of candy, would you promise never again to fight with Jeff?"
"I really think I should have more than that, just in case I have to protect myself."
After minutes and minutes of negotiations, Tom agreed not to fight Jeff for six months in return for a switchblade, $50 in cash, and a case of beer. I then negotiated a similar treaty with Jeff, and stole the required merchandise for the boys. For the next seven months. Universal City was blessed with an unprecedented era of peace and quiet.
This era of peace was broken, only briefly, when Jeff and Tom fought for about two minutes. This short fight ended when Jeff suffered a minor stab wound on his right arm. I immediately pulled my second Henry by rounding the boys up and making another offer:
"Gentlemen, I'll give you both a 20-gauge shotgun if you promise never to fight again."
"We'd kind of like to have a machine gun," Jeff replied.
After nearly 20 minutes of negotiating, I agreed to give each of the boys a "hot" 44 magnum in return for their promise never to fight again.
I'm happy to report that there hasn't been a fight in Universal City since this time, and I'm confident that there will never again be a fight in Universal City. We owe this lasting peace to Dr. Kissinger, and I, for one, will never forget this fact.
My hope and prayer is that others will see the beauty and universal applicability of his techniques. Marriage counselors could use them to reconcile estranged husbands and wives. Parents could use them to ease the relations of pugnacious siblings. Even sports officials could use them to curb the growing violence in certain contact sports. In short, everyone could use Henry's techniques. What could be a better tribute?
Howard C. Landis received his B.S. in accounting from Shippensburg (Pennsylvania) State College in 1974 and is currently in the MBA program at Harvard Business School.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "A Tribute to Henry K.".