Nixon And The Gap

 
Nixon: Another famous duck of history.

 

Not That Nixon

 

Richard Billhous Nixon, the former President of the U.S.A. (that’s the Underwater States of America, in case you were wondering), was a duck of extraordinary political skills.  In fact, he was affectionately known as Tricky Ducky to those in Congress as well as his close family and best friend, B-b-b-baby Rebozo.  Beloved by so very few, it’s hard to understand how Nixon managed to get elected, much less what took him so long to resign office after his tragic and shameful involvement in the cover-up of and illegal break-in at the offices housing the Webfoot Alliance of Toothy, Enchanting and Righteous German Acrobat Theater Eels (i.e. his role in the W.A.T.E.R.G.A.T.E scandal).

 

Yes, the day he resigned was sad and tragic for poor Richard, and even sadder for the millions of waterfowl who had carelessly tossed all caution to the wind and voted him in as their fearless leader.  Though there is no question G. Gordon Ducky, John Errorlickduck, John John Deanbill, and H. R. Halderdasherduck are far and away the actual perpetrators of the Watergate fiasco, Nixon’s involvement with the break in and especially with the cover up cannot be denied.

 

We’ve Got An Exclusive!

 

Hold the presses!  I can now release at least one exclusive piece to the story about the “Nixon Watergate Tapes”  from the former President himself, which I believe should finally shed a beacon of light on the black hole of his immaculately conceived deception, and if we’re lucky, should also demonstrate his softer, though unquestionably cute and fluffy paranoid side.

 

The following is an excerpt of my never before published interview with the former president, shortly before he died.  As a condition of the interview, I was not allowed to eat Brussels sprouts for the 14 weeks leading up to it.  This was due to Nixon’s tragic, still mostly secret and practically miraculous “bridge incident”, the one coming shorting after his resignation.

 

The Incident

 

What’s that?  You say you don’t remember Nixon’s bridge incident?  Frankly, I’m not surprised, since the whole thing was made up…er, check that…covered up far better than Nixon ever covered up Watergate.

The basic facts are these:  It was a dark, yet pleasantly warm evening.  A band of seedy looking ravens had been gathered around Nixon’s front gate for a week to protest his pardon.  Nixon was despondent.  In the two weeks since leaving the White House he hadn’t eaten a thing.  Plus, the noise from the ongoing protest was really grating on his nerves.  Thinking he might escape out the back and get out of town awhile, he snuck across his backyard, climbed a neighbor’s fence, and found the hidden culvert that ran under Cox Street.  The culvert led to a path over to Main and finally the sky bridge across Jaworski Avenue.

 

 

 

Taking A Dive

 

By the time Nixon got to the middle of the bridge, he could no longer put one web foot in front of another.  He was exhausted from all the waddling, hungry to the point of starved and thoroughly depressed. Life was over. All his power and perks were a thing of the past.  He had been publicly humiliated.  Most of his friends had turned their backs. What was the point of living on like this?  Unable to accept his fate for even a moment longer, Nixon took one of his most impulsive acts ever by leaping up over the guardrail and then arching into a duck dive for the pavement below.

 

Amazingly, at the very same moment Nixon’s flight trajectory peaked and he started his descent, a truck carrying a load of Brussels sprouts drove under the sky bridge.  Though it seems unlikely he could have managed the feat if he had planned it, Nixon went splat into an open container of sprouts at the exact instant the truck emerged out the other side of the bridge.  The truck probably saved his life, but ever since the incident Nixon has been suffering from Severe Post Traumatic Brussels Sprout Syndrome (SPTBSS) so that every time he comes with 15 feet of a Brussels Sprout or even catch a whiff of one he comes unhinged.  Believe me…it’s not a pretty sight.

 

Diving from a bridge.

Nixon’s timing was perfect.

Final Conditions

 

Alas, for my visit with the former president I was also required to wear large fake foam elephant ears for the sixteen hours I sat with him, and I promised not to reveal the details of our conversation until I started a career as a “less is more”, money-saving, recipe making, comic strip, history re-writing duck blogger.  Please believe me when I say this last item was no easy task.
 

◊ ◊ ◊

 

Our Interview

 
Here then is my exclusive interview with the former president:

Bob: Good evening, Mister President.

Richard Nixon's official portrait.

◊ ◊ ◊

Nixon: Thanks, Dumbo, nice ears.

Bob: Yes…well…can I take them off yet?

Nixon: No, don’t.  Didn’t my handlers tell you…since leaving office, I’ve suffered several barotraumatic episodes.

Bob:  I’m sorry?

Nixon: It’s a pressure equalization thing in the ear canals.  It’s placed a rather severe restriction on my ability to fly.

Bob: Okay, but I’m not sure it explains why I’m wearing these things.

Nixon: It’s simple.  I needed something to remind me not to take off and fly around as ducks tend to do.  Plus,they make you look silly.

Bob:  I see…Look, Mr. President…

Nixon: Oh, please call me Tricky, would you?

Bob:  Sure… sorry.  Tell me, Tricky, I’d like to get right into it and ask about Watergate.

Nixon: That again?  Do we have to?

Bob:  I think my potential readers…you know…the ones you insisted I get by starting a money-saving duck blog are going to want to hear the truth.

Nixon:  You know what Abraduck Lincoln said about the truth don’t you?

Bob: No.

Nixon:  Too bad, neither do I.

Bob:  Was there a point?

Nixon: There’s always a point, and usually someone’s trying to stick it in my back. Call me paranoid, but I think some ducks really hate me.

Bob: I’m lost here.  Which ducks are you referring to?

Nixon:  The ones hiding just around the corner.

Bob: Those aren’t ducks, they’re squirrels.

Nixon:  You see the one drinking coffee?

Bob:  I do. Isn’t he one of your bodyguards?

Nixon:  Yes, and he really hates me.  He’s been gnashing his teeth and spreading malicious lies to that talk show host.

One of Nixon's bodyguards drinking coffee.

Nixon’s top bodyguard.

Bob: Which host?

Nixon: That liberal, Phil Donahue.

Bob: I don’t know.  Isn’t it possible he’s just spreading nuts around like most squirrels do?

Nixon:  Are you crazy?  Those aren’t nuts, they’re tiny electronic recording devices cleverly disguised to look like nuts.  He’s planted them all over all over the house and in all my favorite stores in downtown San Clemente.

Bob:  Right.  Look, can we get back to Watergate?  I want to talk about the gap.

Nixon:  What gap, the one between your ears?  Hah!  Get it?  Gap between your ears?  Nothing there, right?  Hah!

Bob: Yes…hmm…really, Tricky, I’m happy to be your entertainment, but you know very well what gap I’m talking about and it has nothing to do with me.

Nixon:  Then I suppose you’re referring to the 18 ½ minute silence on that blasted tape, aren’t you?

Bob:  I am.

Nixon:  Okay, how about this…would you believe I stepped out to go to the bathroom and the room went quiet while I was gone?

Bob:  Nope.

Nixon:  Would you believe the Soviets aimed one of their spying devices at it and the electronic interference blanked it out by mistake?

Bob: Not so much.

Nixon: How about this…there was a gang of bereaved Martians who briefly took over the White House and held me hostage.

Bob: I think not.

Nixon:  Boy, you’re tough.  Okay, then, here it is:  My secretary, Rose Mary, mistakenly recorded over the conversation.

Bob:  Was she prone to make that kind of mistake?

Nixon:  What are you implying?  That she was some kind of bimbo I hired only for her looks?

Bob:  Sir, I wasn’t implying anything.  I was asking, that’s all.

Nixon: Well, I hope that’s the truth of it.

Bob: Believe me, it is.

Nixon:  Good…now, where were we?

Bob: I wanted to know if Rose Mary often made mistakes like recording over important conversations?

Nixon:  No, but now that you mention it, she frequently used a giant permanent marker to correct her typing rather than white out or a correcting ribbon.

Bob:  So that explains all the papers you sent over to the investigating committee with whole sections blacked out, right?

Nixon:  Hey, I think it does. Thanks, I’ll have to use that in my memoirs.

Bob:  Please don’t give me any credit.

Nixon: No worries there mate.  Are we done here?

Bob: No, you still haven’t given us any idea how Rose Mary could have erased those tapes.

Nixon:  I haven’t?  Well, it all started with a downward facing dog and a half twist.

Bob:  Excuse me?

Nixon:  She was in the middle of her morning exercise routine…you know…her yoga.

Bob:  I didn’t know she did yoga.

Nixon:  Neither did her instructor, but there you have it.

Bob:  Have what?  You haven’t explained anything.

Nixon: Patience, my boy, I’m getting there.  She was doing the downward facing dog and the phone went off.  Now, being remarkably nimble and more pliable than Gumby, she was able to extend her right leg up, out, and over the back of her right shoulder.

Bob: Wow.  That’s quite an image.

Nixon:  That’s not the half of it.  She kept extending  her foot over the top of the desk and used her big toe to flip the handset of the telephone off its cradle.  That’s when it happened.

Bob:  That’s when what happened?  I’m still not seeing it?

Nixon:  It was all just a silly accident.  After freeing the handset, she went to use her toe once again to put the call on speakerphone so she wouldn’t have to stop her yoga routine, and wouldn’t you know it, she moved left instead of right.

Bob: So you’re saying she hit the wrong button on the wrong machine with her big toe by mistake, is that it?

Nixon:  Perfectly natural thing to do when you’re twisted up like a pretzel and all the blood is rushing to your head.

Bob:  Was there someone else in the room who witnessed this?

Nixon: Not unless you include the dog.

Bob: The dog?  Which dog?

Nixon: King, my Irish Setter…he was laying on the floor right in front of Rose’s face so she could do the downward facing dog.

Bob:  I see…you’re joking now, right?

Nixon:  I was trying.

Bob:  Look, Mr. President, was there anyone else in the room that might verify how it all transpired?

Nixon:  Not unless you include Henry Kissmygritsinger, but he was in the opposite corner making out with…er, check that…negotiating with two Russian synchronous swimmers and a Vietnamese sword swallower.  It was all very hush, hush.

Bob: Pardon me, Tricky, but that isn’t going to fly.

Nixon:  Why not? Rose copped to the whole thing.  You can go back and read the transcript.  It’s all there except the parts she blacked out.

Bob:  With her big black  felt pen?

Nixon: That’s right.

Bob: Nope…sorry…I’m still not convinced.  As I understand it, if it would have helped your cause, Rose Mary was so loyal she would have admitted to forging your signature to bomb Laos.

Nixon: Hey, I wondered who did that!  Boy, she was loyal to the end—one of the few, I guess.

Bob: And I think that proves my point: She was so loyal she’d say or do anything to keep you out of trouble.  Sorry, Tricky, you’re going to have to do better if you expect us to believe you.  So how about it?  Will you finally give us the real story on the gap or not?

Nixon:  Are we still on that?

Bob:  I’d like to be.

Nixon:  Are you sure you wouldn’t rather talk about China?  I’m a terrific ping pong player, you know?  I whipped both Deng Ping Pong and his brother Pong Ping Deng fifteen to nothing on my last trip over there.

Bob: Can we focus, here?  We were talking about the gap, remember?

Nixon:  Hold on there, Tex…a man’s got a right to take his time and work up his nerve before spilling beans into the chili sauce.

Bob:  Where did that come from?

Nixon: What?  Oh, sorry…must have been channeling LBJ again.

Bob:  Do you do that often?

Nixon: I’m not sure.  You’ll have to ask Shirley.

Bob:  Surely, you mean Pat.

Nixon: Surely, I don’t.  When I say Shirely, I surely mean Shirely.

Bob:  Surely, this is going nowhere, fast.

Nixon:  No, Shirely is as slow as a turtle for the most part.

Bob:  Surely, that’s an overstatement.

Nixon: Stop calling me Shirely.

Bob:  I didn’t.  Look…I just want you to tell me what happened.

Nixon: To whom?  To Shirley?

Bob:  No, no, no!

Nixon:  Oh, then surely you must mean Johnson. I thought everyone knew.  The poor guy…it was his obsession with Vietnam…

Bob:  No, stop, I was talking about you.  I still want the story on the gap.

Nixon:  Of course, you do, but it’s not something I can just jump into.  Why don’t we get back to it…ask me something else first.

Bob: Okay…here’s something: As I understand it, you resigned your office because of your involvement in the cover up of the Watergate burglary, and…

Nixon: Now, hold on a minute there.  I am not a crook!  I never waddled into that building, and I never, ever touched one of those German acrobatic eels.  That was G. Gordon Ducky and his gang of pumpernickel eating peacocks.

Bob:  But you resigned, Mr. President.  Doesn’t that prove your guilty?

Nixon:  Oh, and I suppose you think everything always ends up nice and tidy, right?  No…it’s not like that.  You’ve got to remember they were going to take me down for instructive vacations in justice or some other nonsense.

Bob: I think you mean obstruction of justice, sir.

Nixon:  Do I?  Hmm…well that clears up several mysteries.  Guess I should have had you around back in the day to explain it.  Then again you’re one of the enemy.

Bob: I am?  Why?  What enemy.

Nixon: You’re the worst kind.  You’re a blogger.

Bob: I’m not a blogger yet.  That’ll be years from now.

Nixon: Makes no difference to my point.

Bob: You had a point?

Nixon:  I did.  I had to resign to protect the office of the presidency.  It was too important to let my own pride get in the way of that.

Bob:  But isn’t it a fact you were involved in planning the Watergate cover-up?

Nixon:  No, no, no, you’ve got to understand, lad.  The times were troubled.  There was an unpopular war going on in Nam.  The Viet Cong were taking German theater eels hostage.  Plus, innocent ducks were being dive bombed by hoards of red cardinals, er…make that red communists.  It was not the time for a petty little scandal here in Washington to upset the whole banana cart.  I took one for the Gipper (and I’m not talking about Reagan here).  No, I just felt that to fight on would have resulted in endless bickering and arguing about who did what to the owls.  It would have been an environmental catastrophe.

Bob: Excuse me? The owls?

Nixon: That’s right.

Bob: Okay, I don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.

Nixon:  Oh, of course, you do.  It was about who did what to whooooooo. Get it?  Whooooooo.

Bob:  That’s owltlandish!

Nixon: It may be but who gives a hoot?

Bob:  I should think the waitstaff at hooters might care.

Nixon:  The spotted ones or the horny ones?

Bob: You think it’s wise to go on like this.

Nixon: I think it’s owlright.

Bob: Oh, now owl be up all night trying to come up with another one.

Nixon:  Bit of a night owl, eh?

Bob: Okay, stop already!  I came here for the real story.

Nixon: Fine by me.

Bob:  Really?

Nixon:  Of course.  How can I turn down a man wearing Dumbo ears.  You look cute by the way.

Bob:  Thanks…I think…now, correct me if I’m wrong, but I think I remember you admitting to getting a number of  instructions in justice, or something?

Nixon: I’ll only admit to that if you admit to me what you did on your twenty second birthday.

Bob:  How is my personal life relevant here?

Nixon:  See!  This is exactly what I mean.  You want the details of my life but you’re unwilling to share your own.

Bob: But my story doesn’t matter here.  This is about you.

Nixon: No, now that’s where you’ve got it wrong, my boy.

Bob: How’s that?

Nixon:  Think about it.  Here you are taking some gull darn, golly gee-whiz, wilikers, expletive-deletivenotes, and I know for a fact you’re going to scrap those the minute you walk out the door and you’ll end up writing whatever you want about me.  That’s the way history is written, my boy. Make it all up and bend the facts to suit you your political agenda. Why you’re the living proof of it!

Bob: But I haven’t written any history yet.

Nixon: Oh, but you will, I know it.  I see it in the cards.

Bob: Well, if that’s true what difference does it make if you answer my question honestly.  How’s it going hurt anything to give me the real story?

Nixon: Because the world’s not prepared.  The truth’s too big to handle.

Bob: Oh, is that a fact?

Nixon: I can see you don’t believe me.  Oh, very well…just remember I warned you.  If you really must know how it all went down it was this…I seem to recall mentioning something to somebody about talking either with Helms at the CIA or Gray at the FBI, and then suggest they pull the plug on the investigation, but that’s all they had on me.

Bob:  Not quite.

Nixon: What do you mean not quite?

Bob: They had you talking about it on tape which proved you were involved in a criminal conspiracy to obstruct justice.  The tapes were the smoking gun.

Nixon:  You shouldn’t smoke guns lad…the surgeon general told me it can be hazardous to your health.

Bob: You’re avoiding the issue again.

Nixon: My, my, aren’t you both judge and jury all of a sudden.

Bob:  But it’s all in the record.

Nixon: Which record?  That stuff you see on TV?  That’s no record, that’s a fairy tale.

Bob: How do you figure that?

Nixon: It’s the way of the world lad.  You feed people half-lies and innuendos and they just suck it all up and spit it out like it’s the God’s honest truth.  It’s nothing of the sort.  It’s all a big lie.  You should believe me when I tell you I know about these things.

Bob:  If that’s true you can finally set the record straight.

Nixon: If only it were that easy.

Bob: It is…just open your beak and spill it.

Nixon:  Fine…it was the top of the ninth, and the bases were loaded.  The batter…

Bob:  Tricky!  Enough!  What about the gap?

Nixon:  You’re no fun…okay, here’s the scoop…what everyone believes is dead wrong.  The gap was not some cover-up to hide critical missing evidence that would directly link me to the break in.

Bob: Is that a fact?

Nixon:  It is.  What happened was a matter of national security.

Bob: Oh, give me a break.  This is what every single president says to justify something they do that’s either questionable or illegal.

Nixon:  That’s probably fair, except in this case.  Kind of an irony, huh?  Anyway, the tape contained certain critical information and that information if ever publicized will finally and completely exonerate me.

Bob:  You’ve got to be kidding.

Nixon:  I can see you don’t believe me, but I think I should point out it was good enough for Vice-President Chevy Lincoln Mercury.

Bob: I believe you mean Ford.

Nixon:  Oh, maybe I do.  Anyway, when I told him what was on the tapes he granted me a pardon.

Bob:  I’m going to withhold judgment, until you tell me exactly what you told him.

Nixon:  I will if you say pretty please.

Bob:  Pretty please.

Nixon:  With sugar on it?

Bob: Oh, good grief…with sugar on it.

Nixon:  You’re so easy.  Now, look, I must warn you, it’s not at all what you’re probably thinking.  There’s a very good and very sound reason that tape had a gap.

Bob:  So tell me!

Nixon: We were all talking in my office…Henry and Rose Mary and the others, and were interrupted with a call from Brezhnev…you know, my Soviet duck counterpart.  He was working through an interpreter and as was usually the case started in reading me a really long joke.

Bob:  Wait a second.  You’re telling me you erased a joke from the tape.

Nixon: Don’t be naïve, my boy.  It wasn’t just any joke.  It was the world’s funniest joke.  It was a veritable nightmare.

Bob:  I don’t believe this.  I don’t know what made me think you’d actually up end telling me the real story.

Nixon:  But I am!  The tape recorded the world’s funniest joke…a joke so funny that after Brezhnev told it to the interpreter and the interpreter starting telling it to me, all hell broke loose.

Bob: Yeah, right.

Nixon: No, really.  The interpreter started laughing after hearing the punch line as you’d expect, but it was apparently so funny he couldn’t stop, and then he suffered a massive coronary on the spot.

Bob:  And what about Brezhnev?  If it was so funny, why didn’t he die?

Nixon:  What makes you think he didn’t?  He suffered a coronary, too.  Didn’t you ever see him in his later years?  They had to stage it any time he was supposed to show up in public.  They built an elaborate wind up toy that looked just like the original, but it was all a ruse.

Bob:  Now that you mention it he did look wooden.

Nixon:  That’s because they carved his mock up out of an old oak stump, and then to prove to the world he was still alive and well they sent him all over the Soviet Union on a speaking tour.  Kind of gives a new meaning to a “stump speech”, eh?

Bob:  Look…Tricky…I have to admit this is starting to sound just plausible enough I have half a mind to believe you, but there is one slight problem you seem to be overlooking.

Nixon: And what’s that?

Bob: If this joke is such a killer, why are you still standing?

Nixon: I’m not, I’m sitting, but I get your point.

Bob:  And?

Nixon:  Don’t you get it, yet?  The interpreter never translated the punch line to English.  The joke was recorded on my machine, but it was still in Russian, and fortunately, no one in my office at the time understood it so we were spared from literally dying of laughter.

Bob:  So you’re saying…

Nixon:  What I’m saying is that if I hadn’t immediately ordered Rose Mary to erase those 18 ½ minutes of humor, it might very well have been the end of everything we know.  Talk about a “gag” joke.  It would have ended in Arma-gagged-on.

Bob:  (Groan.) So I guess you’re claiming to be some kind of hero, then, is that it?

Nixon: Not at all, I just happened to be in the room.  Rose, is the one who took all the risk to erase the tapes.

Bob: Okay, you’ve got me.  Why was it risky for Rose to erase the tapes.

Nixon: Didn’t you ever watch the Twilight Zone?

Bob:  Huh?

Nixon:  The show with Rod Sterling.

Bob: Yes, I know what it was, I just don’t have a clue how it applies.

Nixon: Don’t you see?  The minute she pressed that button it was like erasing a piece of our national history.  Like it never happened, and yet it was a real threat worse than lighting off our nuclear arsenal.  It was just like something those characters in the Twilight Zone would run up against.

Bob:  I see.

Nixon: I hope you do.  You’ve got to understand, Bob, the presidency isn’t everything it’s quacked up to be.  It’s a tough job one where the fate of the world often hangs in the balance and weight of all the decisions you have to make rests upon your shoulders.  That’s why my posture’s so bad.  And that’s no yoke, either!

Bob:  Sounds to me like you’re trying to make it one.

Nixon:  If that’s the way you feel after everything I just told you, I can’t help you.  All I know is that after people hear the story I just told, they won’t have old Nixon to kick around anymore.

 

The World’s Funniest Joke

 

And in case you still don’t believe Nixon…click here for the proof.

 

 

For other startling duck history, you may also want to visit our
Famous Ducks Of History page.

 

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