In Impromptus today, I have a little riff about President Obama and my upbringing. What I mean is this: When I was growing up, the people around me often talked about how much money other people “needed.” You would hear, “He has much more money than he needs,” or, “No one needs that much money,” etc. And what did our president just say? “I’m able to keep hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional income that I don’t need.”
Well, we can all think of causes to which O could donate his “unneeded” money. Also, as I say in my column, do you love that phrase “additional income”? I can’t help asking: Additional to what? To the dollar amount that the Obama family actually “needs”?
And, what do we mean by “need,” when it comes down to it? I suppose we don’t need hot-fudge sundaes and A&W root beer, when bread and water will see us through, after a fashion. (I have nothing against bread and water, believe me — especially when the bread is freshly baked, and there is superb butter available.)
Anyway, a reader wrote me to say that this particular item in Impromptus reminded her of Lear: “O, reason not the need!” What a speech. Our reader also reminded me: I wish that things reminded me of lines from Shakespeare . . .