November 28th, 2012
02:52 PM ET

Letters to the President #1409: 'A sledding mishap'

Reporter's Note: I do not know if President Obama likes sledding...or these letters, for that matter.

Dear Mr. President,

So I notice that you and your Republican pals are pouring more gasoline on the campfire over this whole fiscal cliff issue. You want to tax the wealthy more, they don't want to tax anyone, and the Chevy keeps racing toward the brink of the canyon.

Obviously there are genuine philosophical differences, but there is a political calculation as well. Each side is betting the other side will be blamed more if things go badly.

It reminds me of a misadventure with by brother. Many years ago, when we were kids, we were contemplating a narrow sled run cutting between thick forests of lodge pole pines down a very steep slope. At the base of the run was a single gigantic tree that dominated the path. We knew we would have to slip past it, either left or right did not matter, and it would be a close scrape.

We decided to risk it anyway. My brother, being older, laid down on the sled and grabbed the steering handles, I climbed onto his back and we pushed off. In seconds were were blistering down the icy decline and watching the big tree loom large ahead.

"Turn! Turn!" I shouted, holding on for dear life.
"I can't," he yelled back, "You're holding my arms too tight!"

A split second later we smashed into the tree and were flung across the snow like rag dolls. No one was seriously hurt, although the front of the sled was buckled by the impact. And a question has remained ever since: Who caused the accident? Him, because he did not turn us to safety? Me, because I prevented him doing what he wished? Or both of us for venturing so close to danger and not truly contemplating the consequences?

Just a few thoughts. Call if you can.


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