View Full Version : They Shoot Gift Horses, Don't They?

07-05-05, 09:52 PM
They Shoot Gift Horses, Don't They?
July 5, 2005
by Burt Prelutsky

I have recently stumbled across a universal truth. And unlike some little piggies who are always looking to patent or copyright their brainstorms, looking to profit from their inspirations, I am satisfied to share freely. Your sincere awe is all I seek, all I need. What I realized is that there are always two kinds of people. No matter what the issue is, no matter the subject under discussion, there are only two kinds of people. For instance, there are those who think dogs are superior to cats; those who think that, by and large, politicians are not a menace; those who think the designated hitter is a good idea Ė and those who disagree.

In other words, there are always two kinds of people, but theyíre not always the same people. What provoked this insight was a friendís recent birthday party. I marveled at his performance as he opened gift after gift and read card after card. It was a performance worthy of a young Brando or an old Hackman. Youíd have thought heíd never before received a present or good wishes care of Hallmark.

I, on the other hand, give performances that remind people of Rob Schneider and Pauly Shore at their most awful. I try to exhibit enthusiasm, but the harder I try, the worse it comes off. Itís like having an out-of-body experience as I hover above myself, like an airborne Greek chorus, booing my inept emoting and tossing ripe tomatoes at my head.

My wife, who turns into Roger Ebert on such occasions, invariably gives me a lousy review. Like sheís telling me something I donít know. But, as I always tell her, ďItís just a shirt, for crying out loud! Itís not as if theyíre giving me a new car or a house at the beach.Ē

I canít help it. I mean, Iím not rich, but the chances are pretty good that whatever is in the box with the ribbon tied around it is something I could have bought for myself if Iíd really wanted it.

I know itís the thought that counts, but I donít know why, if thatís the case, itís not enough that Iím thinking kind thoughts. Why do I actually have to unwrap the darn thing and then carry on as if Iíve spent my entire life pining for a bathrobe in exactly that shade of blue?

But I think that, thanks to Russiaís President Vladimir Putin, my worries are now over. It seems that a group of American businessmen were paying a visit to President. Putin when Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, proudly showed him his 4.94-carat, diamond-encrusted 2005 Super Bowl ring. Putin first tried it on and, then, discovering it fit, put it in his pocket and went home.

Perfect. If the president of a great big country like Russia can get away with it, I donít see why a decent, tax-paying American citizen canít do the same. Forget the damn bathrobe, Iím taking your watch! And if I ever run into that poor schnook, Robert Kraft, Iím taking his Rolls!

As for my mentor, my new role model, the trend-setting president of mother Russia, I canít help wondering if he got that name because heís always putiní things in his pocket.