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A few thoughts on bribes, bribery, the necessity of it and effectiveness – especially as it is applied to The Feste Award. I write this from the position of having tried it last year and, while not being successful, still believe that with the right bribe at the right time to the right person I can be successful this year.

It would help if Bogey herded camels. In most third-world countries bribery is an accepted method of speeding any government function: at the local DCV (Department of Camel Vehicles) a small baksheesh will ensure you get your Camel Operator's License PDQ. A simple test backing up the camel, a few shekels to grease a palm and you're off camel racing at 2 am along the Sphinx Highway.

Bribery works if the bribe and the recipient of the bribe fit. Cash is a universal yet in certain cultures a bribe of a goat is the accepted. It would help in my quest for The Feste Award Third Class with Palm Cluster if Bogey herded goats. However, the only goat herder we have at TMF is Raggmopp and bribing Raggmopp with yet another goat doesn't work because he has enough already. And Raggmopp is an old goat already. Sending coals to Newcastle is enough, already.

A dowry is not a bribe yet a good dowry is an incentive. “Sunmi maybe a little fat but she has a good personality and comes with three camels, two sheep and a goat,” is enough to cause Ahmed to realize it's a good deal especially when it comes with a picture of the three camels, two sheep and the goat.

Bribery has inherent within a barter. “I am so sorry that I have offended your country by my trying to cross into it without realizing the value of its customs inspectors. Please accept this small token of a digital camera. If this is not enough, please accept my gift of a Dell laptop and Windows XP.” Sometimes you can barter down yet in most cases you have to barter bribes upward until the customs inspector smiles.

Do you see where I am going with this? Bribe and barter as a means of me gaining The Feste Award Third Class with Palm Cluster. I have to find a meeting point of what is acceptable and what I can afford. Considering that I am wiling to sell my children into slavery as to what I can afford, the question is what is acceptable bearing in mind that there is acceptability on the side of TMF. This is not a given.

Tom and Dave Gardner may have some say in The Feste Award yet they have so on the recommendation of Bogey. During a lunch with Bogey I carefully weaseled out that The Feste Award is on his shoulders. Aha, I said, Bogey is the nexus and it is upon him I must ply my wiles and find his soft spot. I have to say this has proved more difficult than I thought. The lad (he's half my age) is a Boy Scout and not a camel or goat herder.

Bribing Tom and Dave bears little fruit and the same goes for Bogey. However, there is a Mrs. Bogey. Roses? Perfume? The mind must work on this since it may be that catering to Mrs. Bogey may be the soft underbelly to getting The Feste Award Third Class with Palm Cluster. And where is Mrs. Bogey's soft underbelly but the Bogey kids. It becomes apparent that to get to Bogey I have to get to Mrs. Bogey and I get to her through the Bogey kids. I have to bribe the Bogey children. Forget golf paraphernalia for Bogey or roses and perfume for Mrs. Bogey and let's concentrate on Transformers and Lego in copious amounts. Playdoh for everyone!

The art of bribery depends on a willing briber and a willing bribee. I am the willing briber and Bogey's kids are the bribees and all I have to do is get these kids to influence Mom who in turn will influence Dad and I have it made. It may seem a long route yet I believe it will be fruitful.

Altogether now Bogey kids: “Who loves you, who love me? Let's all love MichaelR.”

This can't fail. Should it, I will send the Bogey family a camel to take for Show and Tell.


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