“Activating a Cold War-era plan, President Bush has put in place a (100-person) “shadow government” working in secret bunkers outside Washington in case of a catastrophic attack.” — Reuters, March 1, 2002

Smaller U.S. Replacement Not Recommended for High Speeds, Long Distances

New Haven, Conn. ( – It’s late at night, you’re cruising along, perhaps humming a mindless tune, when suddenly you hear a loud bang. A silent curse crosses your lips as you realize your government has gone flat. Fortunately, the United States now comes with a spare. Here’s what to do in case of a breakdown.

Fixing a flat

First, assuming you’ve parked the country in a safe location, get out and find the spare government. This can be frustrating, as with the United States, the emergency backup is not readily accessible, but is hidden away in a secure, undisclosed location.

If you can find the spare, set it aside, and get ready to remove the old, defective government. To do this, you must first remove the nuts. This can get tricky, as some nuts have been attached to the government for so long that they have fused with the chassis. If they cannot be loosened easily, you may try to beat on them with a lug wrench or, in Ted Kennedy’s case, offer him a drink.

Next, you will need to jack up the United States. We suggest putting out American flags. This seems to get everyone jacked.

Next, remove the old government, but note: At this point, it is VERY, VERY IMPORTANT that you not accept help from strangers or the CIA. Finally, carefully install the spare government, and replace the nuts. (Sorry, but you will have to use the old nuts.)

Once the backup is installed, consider what kind of spare it is before attempting to drive off. Why? To cut costs, some countries come equipped with miniaturized, space-saving governments for use in emergencies. While these smaller spares make sense for compact, lightweight countries, where room is a concern, bigger, heavier nations should really come with full-sized spares to handle the load. The backup U.S. government is quite small, and therefore should not be used for long periods or at speeds above 35 miles per hour. As soon as you can, go, but slowly, to your nearest national capital and see about getting a real government.

Here are some other tips for government care and emergency preparedness, regardless of country model:

¤ Remember to rotate your government regularly.

¤ Always check to make sure your government is not overinflated, a particular problem on socialist models.

¤ Don’t ignore excessive vibration. This could be a sign that your government is unbalanced, bent, or Italy. If you suspect this, get out of your country at once.

¤ If possible, always exit on the safer, Swiss side of your country.

¤ Keep in mind that some governments do not blow out, but slowly become deflated. While it is entirely possible to ride along for quite some time on a dead government, it is not recommended, (See “Japan”).

¤ Lastly, be aware that old, discarded governments are quickly becoming a serious environmental issue. If possible, recycle your old government. The United States, in particular, is leading the way in this approach.

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