a friend called to ask me for advice on mediating
between two feuding friends, Mr. Divardoost and
Mr. Shoornamak. I was baffled as to why he's asking me
since I only sparingly knew the two.
"Why me? Why me?"
"I figure you cost less than a paid mediator."
"And what exactly is the problem?"
"These people have not spoken a word for over 40
years. It all started over how Divardoosts failed to
attend Mrs. Shoornamak's aash making class gradutation
party and things went downhill from there."
"Maybe they just don't want to be friends. Why
can't you leave them alone? Why do you care
"Because it really breaks my heart to see two good
friends be at war like this. It just devastates
"Tell me the truth... You're just bored and are
looking for trouble. Either that or it must be that gene
all us Iranians possess which makes us force people to
reconcile without being asked by those people."
"Yeah that must be it. I know someone who did his
Ph.D. thesis on that one."
"Is that a disease or a syndrome?"
"I think it's a condition. Anyway, all our other
measures have failed. We need professional help.
That's where you come in."
"Did you try forging their handwritings on two
mutual letters with some tear jerky expression of
regret and admiration?"
"Yes, but they had already put a postal block on
each other's mail, and so the letters never made it to
"This is worse than I thought... Did you try
tricking them into being in the same party at the
same time and bumping into each other when they least
expect it? Because somehow if they make eye contact, or
better yet, are trapped to shake hands they'll
have to say nice things to one another and will be
locked into another 30 years of friendship..."
"We tried that but they were on to us. We were
trying to get them to meet at the restaurant at the top
of the Bonaventure hotel, and in the last second Mr.
Divardoost parachuted off the top of the hotel and
Mr. Shoornamak jumped on to grab to a helicopter taking
off to drop off the vice president at the airport."
"Did you try getting their kids to date and force
the issue that way?"
"I'm way ahead of you, buddy. Through our elaborate
plans Mr. Divardoost's son has already met and married
Mr. Shoornamak's daughter and they're expecting
their second child soon, but the elders still
refuse to meet."
"Then, I'm afraid you have exhausted all the easy
ways out. I'm sorry to say you have no choice but do the
"Yes, you have to get to the root of the problem.
It's going to be ugly."
"Oh my god... That's horrible... That means we're
going to have to sit there for hours and listen to their
every mind-blowing detail of everything that has
happened since Mussolini still had hair, how one
once brought the other a gift wrapped in the wrong kind
of paper, how they didn't pay enough compliments
about the eggplant dish the other wife had made,
and how one of them wouldn't share the secret of how to
telepathically move objects..."
"Yes, and the worst part is, even if you get them
to get over their past problems, they'll be walking on
egg shells for, that 6 months from now we'll be on the
phone talking about this all over again."
With that, we agreed that rather than helping those
people make up using 3000 years of half-cocked
ideas of peace making, I'd be better off to read an
Iranian magazine and try to find the one percent
content among the remaining ninety nine percent ads.