Perhaps I am missing something but shouldn’t gift exchanges between world leaders be a bit more significant than those exchanged at the neighborhood secret Santa party. Meeting the Queen (ok more figurehead than world leader) President Obama handed her a gift that screams the United States of America, he gave her an IPod. Yes an IPod. It was of course preloaded with images of the Queens 2007 visit to the United States. I am sure she thought the magic of that trip was gone forever. Now she can relive that moment over and over again.
As much as I hoped it was a one time snafu, he has shown a lack of etiquette in this area. The Prime Minister of England got CD’s and videos on his visit to Obama’s White House. The Prime Minister delivered to the President a pen holder crafted from the timbers of the 19th century British warship HMS President (whose sister ship, HMS Resolute, provided the wood for the Oval Office's desk) It is an interesting trade isn’t it, a 19th century pen holder vs. Billy Joel’s greatest Hits. (Joel is a guess; my bet would be on ABBA)
This however, is not the most interesting item in this global gift exchange. The Queen presented the President a framed and signed portrait of herself. This is evidently something she has been doing for a long time. Try that at your next secret Santa party, “here is something I knew you would love…a picture of me!” I imagine that this was not planned but rather an accident, a last minute rush to get a gift she forgot she needed to give.
“Pssst, your highness, wake up your highness he’s here”
“Who is here? And why are you whispering you fool”
“The President is here your highness, the President of the United States”
“Oh goodie, I love Ronnie’ yoo hoo Ronnie”
“No your majesty, Obama is here”
“WHAT? OSAMA? Call the police, the army, that bastard won’t get me without a fight...”
“No, no your majesty Barack Obama, The President of the United States”
“Oh blimey, the skinny guy with the ears?”
“Yes. He is downstairs waiting to present you with a gift.”
“A gift? What is it? Oh lord now I have to find something, take that over there and bring it here”
“This? Your highness, it’s a picture of you?
“A bit cheap? Here Ill sign it; let the kid sell it on eBay”
“What did he get me?”
"I believe an IPOD your highness."
"What? A Pond? I already have a Pond”
" Not a bloody pond you daft old..I mean your highness, he is right through these doors.”
"Hellooo Mr President"......
Perhaps that’s not exactly what happened and, it can be argued, the IPod shows off America’s newest cultural phenomenon and up to date modern technology. The Picture? Well it is not nearly as nice as the one with the Queen and President Lincoln together, but the pen from the timbers of a 19th century war ship, now that, is a cool gift.