Every time I get into a give and take situation it turns out to be GIVE and take. When I was just starting grammar school I was talked into trading my brand new red pencil box with the Mickey Mouse logo and neato crayons drawer, for a turtle.
I had always wanted a pet turtle I could tell my troubles to in strict confidence and that I didn’t have to take for long walks. I shouldn’t have told all this to my classmate Skippy who claimed to have a turtle ranch in his back yard and said he had just the hard-shelled beauty that met both my specifications.
I should have been more specific and insisted on a live turtle. That was in early September. By the following spring I began to realize my lethargic pet, Snoozy, had not been hibernating, but had gone on to wherever turtles go on to. By then Skippy had traded the pencil box for a BB gun and six comic books. The last I heard he was a big shot on Wall Street and owned a sizable portion of Long Island.
I’m really out of my element when buying a car. I was well into discussing a down payment and monthly installments on a small sedan when I noticed the framed plaque on the office wall and realized I was in the clutches of the dealer’s “Salesman of the Year”. I would rather have been haggling with some desperate fellow who hadn’t sold a car in a month. Anyway, I managed by hard bargaining to get Mr. Hotshot to agree to a deal where I only had to give up lunches for three years. I felt a little guilty when he said he was going to plead with his manager to okay this “overgenerous contract”. But later I was sure I heard raucous laughter down the hall and what sounded like the popping of a cork on a champagne bottle.
Heaven help the country if I ever get involved in high level international negotiations. I can imagine reporting at the White House on the results of my meeting with Pacific Rim representatives. “Mr. President, I am happy to inform you that I have secured an agreement granting us unlimited tuna fishing rights between the Aleutians and the China coast. I must add, on the down side, that we have to give up Hawaii and a west coast city to be named later.”