When negotiating with tigers, remember… keep your distance.
Talk softly, slowly, no sudden movements, and remember to freshen up with a mint beforehand.
Always say you’ll give in to its demands for a) a barge of elk or b) to release all the tigers from the park zoo, but DON’T because 1) elk are hard to come by nowadays and 2) tigers don’t play well with children.
Be on guard, though. Tigers are tricky.
Try to talk it down, because that Venetian lamp isn’t worth fifty bucks. Look, it’s scratched. You call that Murano glass? Although the tiger may look like it’s upset, start gnashing its teeth and salivating in a manner that can only be interpreted as predatory (or the onset of an aneurysm), don’t be fooled. The furry bastards love to haggle.
Tell it in a calm voice to 1) quit bitching about the rent, you get paid on Friday 2) it’s not your mother and you’ll come home at whatever hour you please 3) stop leaving dirty pots and pans on your bed, you’ll do the dishes in the morning.
Don’t be afraid to face off in a tête-à-tête and assert that you deserve a raise for your nine months of hard work, and no, you won’t work on Sundays, and that it’s ridiculous you can’t get health insurance just because you missed the one-month window to apply with Aetna. What’s up with that? But keep your distance as this should prevent a) relentless mauling b) getting fired.
If the tiger looks hungry, feed it… quickly. No explanation needed really, but here’s a fail-safe recipe for ragu bolognese in case you don’t have one on hand: one box of rigatoni, cook al dente, mix in sauce and minced meat, fresh plum tomato, sautéed garlic in olive oil. Oregano, pepper, salt. Garnish with basil. But make sure that the sauce is thick. Tigers may love pasta, but if the sauce is too soupy, and without the right amount of fresh pepper, you can say goodbye to your leg.
Pull over, be polite, apologize for not having your registration card and explain: No, you have no idea how fast you were driving, but you’re sure it was below the speed limit… Stop sign?… One beer, you know the law.
Feel free to argue that the tiger doesn’t exist and that it’s impossible to negotiate with something that doesn’t exist, but avoid a) Wittgenstein b) Descartes c) allusions to apriori knowledge of the universe. Pre-Socratics, also ineffective.
Be sure to explain to the tiger: That it’s not it, it’s you. You’re not emotionally ready for a relationship right now. You’re in a strange place in your life and you need to figure things out on your own. And, although it may be difficult, that you want to negotiate with other tigers.
If you find yourself at an impasse, briefly debate the relativity of truth and hide behind a large rock. This almost always works.
But if all else should fail, shoot it with a blow dart and run. Because the sad truth is, nine times out of ten, you can’t negotiate with tigers. They are tricky.
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