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March 16th, 2012
06:53 PM ET

Letters to the President #1152: 'The gift of grilling'

Reporter's Note: President Obama receives a letter from me each day. He has ever since he took the oath of office. Public service, as you can see, involves sacrifice.

Dear Mr. President,

A barbeque grill? This is what you gave to the British Prime Minister, David Cameron?

I suppose it is a fine gift, and at $2000, it darn sure better be. That sounds like quite a grill. But I have two questions:

1) Is this really a uniquely American thing? I’ve always been under the impression that gifts to visiting potentates are usually chosen with an eye for promoting all things American. It seems to me that I’ve seen meat cooked outside on grills or grill like devices all over the globe. Lamb, goat, beet, pork. The list seems endless. Once on the border of Honduras I was hiding in the woods with some revolutionary types (heaven knows what they were revolting against…it escapes me at the moment) and they had these old yard chickens running all over the place. They grabbed one, wrung its neck, plucked it, and Bob’s-your-uncle soon it was sizzling over an open fire…kind of like, you guessed it: a barbeque grill! Anyway, seems like between that sort of thing and “shrimp on the barbie” and all that, a barbeque grill would be something Mr. Cameron could have picked up at home. Still, nice gift.
2) Was it assembled? It should have been, and I speak from experience. Putting a barbeque grill together is a way daunting task. I mean awful. I once went to help a friend assemble one and six or seven hours later it was still barely functional with, I might add, a lot of mysterious parts left over. (We put them into a bag and shoved them onto a shelf.) My point being that an unassembled grill would be less of a diplomatic gift, and more of an invitation to open warfare. Just sayin’…

Hope all is well. Call if you can.

Regards,
Tom

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