December 30th, 2012
09:30 AM ET

Letters to the President #1441: 'New Year's plans'

Reporter's Note: President Obama has been working on budget matters for weeks. I’ve been working on my latest letter to the White House for…oh, gosh, I guess five or six minutes.

Dear Mr. President,

It appears that my family and I have found an excellent place for dinner on New Year’s Eve. We’re expecting a delicious series of courses at a French place near our home, and my mouth is already fairly watering. So if you were thinking of calling at the last minute for us to come to the White House, too late, we’ve got plans! Ha!

Speaking of which, this dinner reservation produced a wonderful joke, albeit in a bit of a Crane brothers motif. My older daughter, who is fluent in French, was surveying the menu and said to my wife and me, “By the way, what is direct translation of duck confit?” To which I replied, “Duck with feet.” Ha! Yes, I realize the cornerstone of the joke resides in Spanish…but…oh well…

I mentioned the other day that my attempts to learn Spanish remain mired in inaction and have for several years now. I have a functional grasp of the language. Should I wake up and find myself mysteriously transported to El Salvador, I could certainly turn to the nearest passerby and confidently say in the native tongue, “Excuse me, sir or madam, I have apparently fallen through a hole in the time/space continuum. Can you point me to the nearest wormhole or airport?”

That said, however, I still find my skills sorely lacking in terms of completeness. I long to converse comfortably about things like soil moisture, favorite pet grooming services, printing presses, botany, and the finer points of ceviche tableware.

So I am flirting with the idea of making this my New Year’s resolution; that I should finally and completely master this language from the south. Or the east. Or frankly, just down the street, depending on how you see things.

Let me know your thoughts on the matter, por favor. Hey! Look, it’s already working!


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