March 17th, 2012
08:42 AM ET

Letters to the President #1153: 'Once again...ping pong diplomacy'

Reporter's Note: I write to President Obama all the time. I mean, all the time. Seriously, all the time.

Dear Mr. President,

So yesterday I wrote about your gift of a barbeque grill to British PM David Cameron. Today, I want to ask how you feel about his gift to you, to wit: A ping pong table.

Do you like ping pong? I’ve enjoyed the game for years. I fiddled with it a bit in high school, and started playing it pretty intensely in college. Many evenings when I wasn’t studying (and frankly, there were plenty of those,) roommates and I would repair to the student center to play. I developed a magnificent slam shot that I would unleash just as the ball came over the end of the table; whistling the ball over the net with a wicked spin that made it move like a sailboat tacking through a gale. And heaven help you if you popped one up near the middle of the table. I once slammed a shot like that down so hard, it came up and smacked a friend’s forehead and left a welt!

Fortunately, my friends also developed tough ways of playing so the matches were always exciting; lots of shouting, laughing, and good natured taunts. Old routines from the Pythons provided lots of material: “Your father was a hamster and you father smelled of elderberries!” That sort of thing.

My point is, if you like the table and you need a good game, give me a call. But you better have your “A” game, or I’ll chase you out of the ping pong brackets in a heartbeat.