A young man was getting ready to graduate from college. For many months he had admired a beautiful sports car in a dealer's showroom, and knowing his father could well afford it, he told him that was all he wanted.
As Graduation Day approached, the young man awaited signs that his father had purchased the car. Finally, on the morning of his graduation, his father called him into his private study. His father told him how proud he was to have such a fine son, and told him how much he loved him. He handed his son a beautiful wrapped gift box. Curious, but somewhat disappointed, the young man opened the box and found a lovely, leather-bound Bible, with the young man's name embossed in gold. Angrily, he raised his voice to his father and said, "With all your money you give me a Bible?" He then stormed out of the house, leaving the Bible.
Many years passed and the young man was very successful in business. He had a beautiful home and a wonderful family, but realizing his father was very old, he thought perhaps he should go to see him. He had not seen him since that graduation day. Before he could make the arrangements, he received a telegram telling him his father had passed away, and willed all of his possessions to his son. He needed to come home immediately and take care of things.
When he arrived at his father's house, sudden sadness and regret filled his heart. He began to search through his father's important papers and saw the still new Bible, just as he had left it years ago. With tears, he opened the Bible and began to turn the pages. As he was reading, a car key dropped from the back of the Bible. It had a tag with the dealer's name, the same dealer who had the sports car he had desired. On the tag was the date of his graduation, and the words... "PAID IN FULL".
How many times do we miss blessings because they are not packaged as we expected? Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; but remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.
Sometimes we don't realize the good fortune we have or we could have because we expect "the packaging" to be different. What may appear as bad fortune may in fact be the door that is just waiting to be opened. 。
This is the 50th anniversary of the day I crossed paths with Pablo Picasso. It came about in a strange way. I had written a column showing how absurd some of my mail had become.
One letter was from Philadelphia. It was written by a Temple University student named Harvey Brodsky. Harvey said he was in love with a girl named Gloria Segall, and he hoped to marry her someday. She claimed to be the greatest living fan of Picasso. The couple went to a Picasso exhibit and, to impress her, Harvey told Gloria that he could probably get the artist's autograph.
Harvey's letter continued, "Since that incident, Gloria and I have stopped seeing each other. I did a stupid thing and she threw me out and told me she never wanted to see me again.
"I'm writing to you because I'm not giving up on Gloria. Could you get Picasso's autograph for me? If you could, I have a feeling Gloria and I could get back together. The futures of two young people depend on it. I know she is miserable without me and I without her. Everything depends on you."
At the end of the letter, he said, "I, Harvey Brodsky, do solemnly swear that any item received by me from Art Buchwald (namely, Pablo Picasso's autograph) will never be sold or given to anyone except Miss Gloria Segall."
I printed the letter in my column to show how ridiculous my mail was. When it appeared, David Duncan, a photographer, was with Picasso in Cannes and Duncan translated it for Picasso.
Picasso was very moved, and he took out his crayons and drew a beautiful color sketch for Gloria Segall and signed it.
Duncan called and told me the good news.
I said, "The heck with Gloria Segall, what about me?"
David explained this to Picasso and in crayons he drew a picture of the two of us together, holding a glass of wine, and wrote on the top, "Pour Art Buchwald."
By this time, the Associated Press had picked up the story and followed through on the delivery of the picture to Gloria Segall. When it arrived special delivery in Philadelphia, Gloria took one look and said, "Harvey and I will always be good friends."
If you're wondering how the story ends, Harvey married somebody else, and so did Gloria. The Picasso hangs in Gloria's living room.
It was a story that caught the imagination of people all over the world. I received lots of letters after the column was published. My favorite came from an art dealer in New York, who wrote:
"I can find you as many unhappy couples in New York City as you can get Picasso sketches. Two girls I know are on the verge of suicide if they don't hear from Picasso, and I know several couples in Greenwich Village who are in the initial stages of divorce. Please wire me how many you need. We both stand to make a fortune."
Another letter, from Bud Grossman in London, said, "My wife threatens to leave me unless I can get her Khrushchev's autograph. She would like it signed on a Russian sable coat."
*阿尔特?布赫瓦尔德(Art Buchwald, 1925—)美国幽默语言大师,美国艺术与文学院院士,曾获普例策奖。旧版的《大学英语》精读课本曾选用过他的“Ts There Life on Earth?”
There was once a wise old woman who lived back in the hills. All the children used to come back and ask her questions. She always gave the right answers.
There was a naughty little boy among the children. One day he caught a tiny bird and held it in his cupped hands. Then he gathered his friends around. He said, "Let's trick the old woman. I'll ask her what I'm holding in my hands. Of course, she'll answer that I have a bird. Then I will ask her if the bird is living or dead. If she says the bird is dead, I'll open my hands and let the bird fly away. If she says the bird is alive, I'll quickly crush it and show her the dead bird. Either way, she'll be wrong."
The children agreed that this was a clever plan. Up the hill they went to the old woman's hut.
"Granny, we have a question for you," they all shouted.
"What's in my hands?" asked the little boy.
"Well, it must be a bird," replied the old woman.
"But is it living or dead?" demanded the excited boy.
The old woman thought for a moment and then replied, "It is as you will, my child."