FLINT - I had dinner with a Democrat and a Republican the other day.
"Could you please pass the butter?" I asked.
Democrat: "You heard him. Pass the butter."
Republican: "What's the magic word?"
Democrat: "Pass the butter. Please."
Republican: "You forgot to say pretty."
Democrat: "I'm not saying pretty please. Nor am I saying 'with a cherry on top.' That's what you'll ask next. Don't think I don't know you, my friend.
Republican: "Well, if you don't say it, then you're not getting the butter."
Democrat: "Then I fear we've come to a butter cliff, so to speak."
Republican: "I guess so. The American public will not be pleased if you allow us to go over it just because of your stubbornness."
Democrat: "It's you they'll be angry with. And I'm not stubborn. You're stubborn."
Republican: "I may be stubborn, but you're the stubbornest."
Democrat: "Am not!"
Republican: "Are, too."
Democrat: "How about if we work out a deal - you know, like we used to do?"
Republican: "What do you propose?"
Democrat: "I propose that you give me the butter and apologize for holding it hostage, and if you do that I'll possibly forgive you."
Republican: "That's not a deal."
Democrat: "It is from where I sit."
Republican: "Well, not from where I sit, so you can stuff it. No butter for you."
Democrat: "OK, OK, don't get all huffy. What do you propose?"
Republican: "I propose that I give you the butter and in return you give me all the rolls you have over there on your end of the table."
Democrat: "But then I won't need the butter!"
Republican: "Sucks to be you. Take it or leave it."
Democrat: "I'll leave it, you jerk. Enjoy that butter without my rolls."
Republican: "I will! And you enjoy those rolls without my butter!"
Democrat: "I will!"
Republican: "Look, this is getting us nowhere. I'll tell you what, in the spirit of collaboration, I'll pass you the butter, but only if you publicly admit that in doing so I am in no way violating my earlier vow to never pass the butter to the likes of you."
Democrat: "I'm sorry, I can't do that. I clearly have the upper hand in this negotiation in that rolls without butter are still a viable dining option whereas as butter without rolls is not."
Republican: "That's it then - the deal's off. No butter for you!"
Democrat: "Then I guess it's over the butter cliff for us both."
Republican: "Fine by me!"
Democrat: "Fine by me, too."
"Guys," I interrupted, "I just wanted butter. Could you get over yourselves for a second and just pass it, please?"
Them (in unison): "No!"
With that, I got up and left. Life's too short. I'd rather go over a butter cliff 10 times than listen to any more of that nonsense.
Know what I mean?
EDITOR'S NOTE - Andy Heller, an award-winning columnist, appears weekly in the Daily Press. He graduated from Escanaba Area High School in 1979. Write to Andrew Heller at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.