RAMON PRESSON: A Ramon Without A Country

RAMON PRESSON: A Ramon Without A Country

I recently read that 41 countries are still awaiting a Trump-appointed U.S. Ambassador.

That means that there are 40 U.S. embassies around the world with a “Help Wanted” sign in the window. I decided to take look at the list of vacancies along with the basic ambassador job description to see if I might want to apply. My entire professional career has been spent in the United States so I think I might be ready to break out of my box, especially for a prestigious, largely ceremonial, position that pays well and provides free housing in a highly desirable country.

The Job Description

Before I got excited about the location of my next vacation home I thought I should look up what my duties would be in case I need to update my Linked-In profile and falsify my resume.

In my extensive research (the first thing that popped up on Google) I delved
exhaustively into (I skimmed) the responsibilities of a U.S. ambassador. I won’t bore you with the details but it has something to do with regional and American politics, economics, trade, commerce, and military issues. The applicant’s ability to deal effectively with social unrest, protesters, and riots is a plus.

Locations Ruled Out

Not being a big fan of conflict, I crossed several countries off my preferred nation list such as Turkey, Sudan, Libya, Jordan, Egypt, and Venezuela.

South Korea is hiring and did a wonderful job hosting the recent Winter Olympics, but they are too close to North Korea and a crazy man with a bad haircut. No, not Dennis Rodman. I’m talking about President Kim Jong-un. Dennis Rodman is just our psychotic self-appointed ambassador to North Korea.

Countries with high heat and humidity, spotty WI-FI connection, or no good barbecue joints like Bolivia, Qatar, Panama, and Zimbabwe were logically eliminated. And just the name Iceland tells you why I won’t be bribing anyone to weasel into that seat.

Ambassadorships are like garage sales: the best stuff gets snatched up early. But
hidden among the clearance table of empty embassies sometimes you can still find some good bargains.


For example, Australia is no cheap hand-me- down. I’ve always wanted to visit the land Down Under, get sick eating a bloomin’ onion at Outback, get kicked in the groin by a kangaroo, and get bitten by a cute koala bear. Maybe Nicole Kidman would like to show me around Sydney.

A couple of tropical flavor consulates that might suit me are Jamaica and Belize. I could see myself being very faithful to my duties there during winters in Tennessee.

While the embassy in France is already spoken for, nearby Belgium is still on the draft board. I like Belgian chocolate and I’ve had a lot of experience with Belgian waffles so culturally I’d fit in.

France’s ambassadorship went to Jamie McCourt who is described on her company website as an entrepreneur, real estate developer, and lover of food and wine. Who puts “lover of food and wine” on their website if they aren’t shamelessly lobbying for a plum position in Paris?

In additional to Belgium, I’ve got my eye on another European country in need of a writer/therapist turned ambassador: Ireland. I’m surprised that such a lovely place with rich history, colorful characters, and pubs on every corner doesn’t already have a happily appointed ambassador. Maybe the accents seem quaint at first but start to grate on you after a while and you feel like you’re living in an endless scene from “Waking Ned Divine.”


Wait, hold the phone! Sweden is still available? The land of Ikea, the ’70s group ABBA, Swedish meatballs, pickled herring, the 6-hour workday, and the Swedish women’s beach volleyball team? Why didn’t you say so from the beginning?

Swedes are awesome. As one of their tourist websites proclaims, “If you’ve ever used Skype, listened to music via Spotify or played Candy Crush on the toilet, you’ve got a Swede to thank.” I’ve only done the first two but I’m still very thankful.

And another tourist website reassures me about living among the Swedes as their ambassador: “Yes, the Vikings were once here but not everyone in Sweden now is tall, blonde and violent.”

So, I’m sorry, Belgium and Belize, Ireland and Jamaica, but I’ve already been on
Priceline and booked a room at the Ice Hotel and gotten tickets to the ABBA Museum.

Maybe Bjorn Borg would like to show me around Stockholm, hit a few tennis balls, and help me assemble a dining room set. Sorry, Nicole, maybe some other time.

Ramon Presson, PhD, is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Franklin
(www.ramonpressontherapy.com) and the author of several books. Reach him at ramonpresson@gmail.com

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