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Tony Kornheiser

Give Thanks to This Humble Servant by Referring to His Gift Registry

February 14, 2001|Tony Kornheiser

Hiya, hiya, hiya. Is everybody having a good time? Is everybody ready to laugh? Put on your party hats, here comes Mr. Tony.

Not that I'm bitter. I only mention it because I've sacrificed the best years of my life to give you a smile. Even when something catastrophic happens--when a volcano erupts and kills thousands, or, um, my cable goes on the fritz--I'm still thinking about how I can make you laugh. See, it doesn't matter how much I have to suffer, as long as you're happy.

I'm sure after all these years of mirth, you must be wondering how you can say, "Thank you, Tony."

Here's how: Say it with home furnishings.

I've taken the liberty of establishing the Tony Kornheiser Gift Registry, where you can show your appreciation for my years of public service by giving what the pros call "your generous contribution to the White House."

I want what Bill and Hillary got. Everything.

The nation was anticipating the Clintons finally leaving the White House. And technically, they did leave the building. They just didn't leave anything in it.

I wish I had a picture of Bill and Hillary walking from the White House to the moving van, their clothing bulging with swag. Flatware in their pockets jingled so loudly, people thought they were the Marine Corps Band.

They took $21,819 worth of china.

Yeah, sure, they plan on entertaining. But they now control more china than Li Peng!

They took $17,966 worth of flatware.

This is like calling Crate & Barrel and instead of ordering service for 12 you order service for New Jersey.

They took $52,021 worth of furniture.

That leaves, what, the Lincoln footstool? When Bar and Poppy drop over for an evening of highly competitive cribbage, what are they going to sit on--Jeb?

I guess the Clintons figured: Hey, we've just bought two houses. Somebody's got to furnish them.

The Clintons' position was that "good friends" had sent them all this stuff and meant for them to have it. Over the years I, myself, sent Bill autographed copies of two books I wrote. In retrospect, I feel badly sending books. The way the guy's scrounging around, I should have sent him a leg of lamb and a lob wedge.

Lately, I've tried to put myself in the Clintons' place. What would I want from my many generous friends? This won't take long: a Mercedes-Benz S600.

Of course, if I were in the Clintons' place, and I'd just gotten an $8-million advance on a book like Hillary did, I could easily afford to buy the Benz myself. But like the Clintons, I'd enjoy it so much more if you bought it for me.

That's the part that gets me--the eight big ones Hillary just reeled in. And it's not like Bill's begging for spare change on Pennsylvania Avenue. He's pulling down $150,000 a speech. (And a great speech it is: "I did good, didn't I? OK, there was that messy thing. But 10 years from now who's gonna remember? Take Al Gore. Please. You believe what a putz he was, not running on my record?")

The Clinton family income will probably be $15 million this year. They can't afford flatware on that? Some folks are angry at the Clintons for leaving nothing in the White House but the doorknobs. Not me. I'm impressed. I'd love to live in a fancy, furnished house, rent free, for eight years, and then haul all the furniture out with me.

Whether you think the Clintons acted badly is a matter of perception. Take what happened at the Miami Seaquarium the other day. A big sea turtle met an untimely death, and while everyone felt terrible about it--well, let me quote from the AP: "Flesh from a protected species of sea turtle that died was turned into stew by some of the facility's workers." Hmmm. I concede there was probably a better way to dispose of Mr. Turtle. The bad part wasn't that the workers ate the turtle, it was that people found out.

It isn't illegal to make turtle bisque, but it presents what the pros call "an image problem." Essentially, what happened to the Clintons was: They were caught eating the sea turtle.

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