The Papal Pussy-Cat

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Jun 3rd, 2011
Mel
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THE PAPAL PUSSY-CAT

It was all over the news that the “Today” show’s host, Matt Lauer, went to The Vatican and presented Pope Benedict  XVI with a crystal cat chochky. I’m sure it was something pricey; Baccarat or Steuben. One would only hope that Matt’s secretary didn’t run out and pick up the pink Swarovski puss that I have chosen as my feature photo.

It did get me thinking, however, that buying a gift for a religious leader, a member of some royal family, President Obama, or even one’s aging mother, is at best, tricky.

Exactly what would I buy Queen Elizabeth as a hostess gift? And, more importantly, why would she expect me to bring her anything? Why did Matt Lauer feel compelled to take Joseph Ratzinger an insignificant present? Anyone who sees the introduction and gift presentation will notice the Pope handing it off as if the box contained an I.E.D.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure it was Matt’s New York upbringing that compelled him to bring such a gift. After all, that’s what New Yorkers do when they go to visit someone. Bringing a crumb cake or an Edible Arrangement was impractical, and Italian Custom’s agents love to confiscate such American delicacies. Matt couldn’t take a chance.  What would America do if he and Al Roker were hauled off to a secret Papal torture chamber, and forced to taste test for the Pope?

Don’t get me wrong. I think that Pope Benedict XVI is a pretty interesting guy. He even looks a bit like my cousin’s husband, Tony. He is an accomplished classical pianist, loves Mozart, and has even recorded his own album of songs to The Blessed Virgin Mary. He has a sense of style, and looks very nice in hats. Very few men in their 80’s can pull off this little red number.

Pope Benedict XVI

I started to give some thought as to what I would bring as a gift to someone with such dignity and fame. What would I bring to Pope B? He does not have the dynamic personality of Pope John Paul II, who was an avid soccer player and skier, and loved to travel the world. JP II was full of life and energy, and brought people together. In terms of Popes, JP II was a rock star.  Find a wild ski hat, and Karol would have worn it to bed.

Benedict, however, seems a bit serious. I’m sure that being brought up in Nazi Germany shaped a bit of his personality. If my budget had no limit, I would find a rare Mozart manuscript and present it to him. On a tighter budget, some nice Mozart recordings by Andras Schiff, Mitsuko Uchida, or even a young Glenn Gould. (Mozart requires a light touch and a bit of humor. Wolfgang was a bit crazy.)  More appropriately, if I truly had an unlimited budget, Pope Benedict would most likely appreciate my endowment of a music school for needy children, where talented youth could take piano lessons for free, and practice every day on a well tuned grand. The school, of course, would be named for him.

To Queen Elizabeth, I would bring treats for her dogs. The woman is 85 and does not need, or want, anything I could  afford to give her. Matt would bring her a crystal horse. To Barack Obama, I would advise him to center his 2012 Re-election Campaign on “Smoking Reform”. He would quit smoking “Cold Turkey”, and encourage all Americans to “Change”. Just imagine how much money he could raise, if everyone handed over their cigarette money to him?  Matt would bring him a crystal basketball. I’m beginning to see a pattern here.

Why crystal? Crystal is heavy, so the gift recipient will think that the gift is expensive. (Gee, maybe it’s a gold brick????) Crystal is clean and clear, signifying brilliance and purity. A crystal chochky can be used as a weapon to ward off potential assassins, and in the case of Bill Clinton, take down Hilary before she heaves another lamp his way. A crystal gift is something that one buys when they have no imagination, and simply look up the dignitary on Wikipedia, and discover that they adore something.

Matt Lauer gave Pope Benedict XVI a crystal cat, and received a Papal Blessing in return.  Remind me never to invite Matty-boy to a party. I ‘d serve beef tenderloin, and he’d regift the crystal peacock from last year’s NBC holiday gift bag. Way to go, Matt.


Flash to the Vatican, viewed through my crystal ball:  I can see the Pope sitting in his chochky-infested bedroom, holding the empty brown gift box in his bejeweled hands, shaking his head, and thinking, “I had so hoped it would be from Tiffany’s.”

The Papal Bed Chamber?

 

 

 

 


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