British Prime Minister Gordon Brown visited Barack Obama in the White House. If that sounds like the opening line of a really funny joke, I have to apologize. I got nothin'.
But via Ace we have:
Mr Brown's gifts included an ornamental desk pen holder made from the oak timbers of Victorian anti-slaver HMS Gannet, once named HMS President.
Mr Obama was so delighted he has already put it in pride of place in the Oval Office on the Resolute desk which was carved from timbers of Gannet's sister ship, HMS Resolute.
Another treasure given to the U.S. President was the framed commission for HMS Resolute, a vessel that came to symbolise Anglo-US peace when it was saved from ice packs by Americans and given to Queen Victoria.
Finally, Mr Brown gave a first edition set of the seven-volume classic biography of Churchill by Sir Martin Gilbert.
Mr. Obama, like Solomon before Sheba, searched far and wide in his great land for a gift equal in status to that which had been laid before him. He found a handsomely bound and perhaps even still shrinkwrapped set of American films, 25 DVDs in all. Mr. Brown was reportedly sheepish about even revealing the magnanimity of the bounty he had received.
But this story got me thinking. What should he have given him? I mean, Brown is Prime Minister of Great Britain, the Chief Executive of not just a country but of a whole Empire. Obviously, he can command whatever he wishes, and so it will be.
Obama was obviously in awe of the man.
But if he had not been so cowed, he could have come up with something more creative. Perhaps Mr. Obama could have given Brown:
- An autographed Barack Obama picture, maybe even with Brown in the background
- A trillion dollars
- A nice Che poster
- A bank or two
It will be interesting to see if the gifts Brown gave retain their position in the Oval Office, or manage to ... tag along with some future foreign dignitary.