There’s a lot of talent in the Peres family, and some of it is latent. Israel’s ninth president is looking for a job. Even at 91, a person in possession of his or her faculties is not too old to work. At least he thinks so.
Among the Peres grandchildren is a young woman by the name of Mika Almog who just happens to be the script writer for the satirical program Wonderful Country. She also writes a weekly satirical column in the Hebrew edition of Haaretz.
When her grandfather sought her assistance while job hunting, Almog put him in a series of skits which parodied his experience, his skills and his philosophy, and proved that if anything else, he can be another George Burns, who was also one of those workaholics who kept going well into his nineties and reached a triple digit age.
The Almog-Peres collaborative effort produced under the auspices of the Peres Center for Peace had its New York premiere on Monday when Peres appeared before the Atlantic Council.
The opening scene of the spoof shows Peres packing his personal effects while in the presidential office and deciding what to keep and what to give away.
He decides to keep a pudgy Ben Gurion doll dressed in an army uniform, but discards a book about presidents for dummies. Next he’s being interviewed by an employment officer who asks about his experience. He tells her he was a dairy farmer who milked cows. She replies that today it’s all automatic. He adds that he was a shepherd and proudly boasts of never having lost a single sheep. “Today everyone’s a vegan” she tells him. He tells her he was the Minister of Posts for incoming and outgoing mail. Today it all goes via email” she says. He comments that he established Rafael. “The restaurant?” she queries. “Why is it so expensive?” He starts to explain that it’s not a restaurant but an advanced defense systems enterprise, but she’s not interested in hearing any more. “So you have no experience” she concludes, and suggests that he look elsewhere.
Refusing in typical fashion to give in to despondency, Peres takes on temporary jobs as an attendant at a gas station where he tries to sell additional goods and services to customers who don’t want them. Along comes the Peres philosophy. “If you keep on saying no, it will cost you a hefty price.” He then tells a driver to go in peace. It has a stronger impact in Hebrew. Next we see Peres as a security guard asking people about what they’ve got in their pockets and purses, then telling them that nanotechnology is the future. His next job is as a check-out clerk in a supermarket, and after that he’s an ageing pizza delivery boy who’s late because he got lost on the way. But that doesn’t stop him from asking for a tip. When the customer demurs, Peres tells him that a people that doesn’t lose hope doesn’t ask for tips, it gives tips.
Next, we get a glimpse of Peres the stand-up comedian who is introduced as Shimmy P…the star of the future. He begins his monologue by talking about establishing a textile company in the desert, and then asks: “Is there anyone here from Dimona…?” Bye bye comedian, hello sky diver. Peres appears in the open doorway of the plane wearing his helmet and parachute. His partner is scared to jump. Peres admonishes him with the famous Roosevelt quote: “We have nothing to fear but fear itself,” adding “The future belongs to those who dare…” and they jump and float to earth. After they land, Peres tells his partner that they have to get to work. “But there’s nothing here,” the man protests. “When there’s nothing, you can do everything,” a benign Peres declares. After that there are some fast forward shots of Peres doing everything… well almost.