Friday, August 23, 2019

A personal apology from The New York Crank to Mette Frederiksen, Prime Minister of Denmark

Maybe his diaper was wet
Dear Prime Minister Frederiksen,

Back in 1959, as a still-adolescent college student, I spent some time in Europe. The student bible for European travel in those days was called “Europe on $5 a Day,” and believe it or not, two students splitting hotel rooms really could travel around the Continent for five bucks a day — $35 a week — back then.

On the recommendation of the same guidebook, I signed up for a program called “Meet the Danes” when I got to Copenhagen. Just for showing up, a Danish family would invite you into their home for coffee, cake, and conversation. Free!

My traveling buddy and I ended up in a nice house on the outskirts of Copenhagen where what seemed like a terribly old couple (they must have been in their mid-thirties) sat us down at their dining table. I can still see them. She was wearing a Channel suit. He was wearing a double-breasted blue blazer and a striped rep tie and looked a bit like Prince Philip of England. 

The cake was delicious. Their home was inviting and of course furnished in Danish Modern. The conversation? Well, let’s just say the age gap between two dazed nineteen-year-olds and two fully adult 30-somethings was a bit too wide. I think they were relieved when we were finally gone, so that they didn’t have to keep trying to think of something to say that would get us talking.

All the same, I was, and to this day still am, impressed by the kindliness, hospitality, and warmth of the people I met in Denmark, exemplified by that lovely couple who invited a couple of bratty American kids into their home for some coffee and cake just to be nice.

Which brings me to Donald Trump.

One morning this week, Trump woke up and decided to buy Greenland. Never mind that it wasn’t on the market. Honestly, I checked the real estate ads. Couldn’t find Greenland anywhere.

Never mind that he forgot to ask the citizens of Greenland if they were up to getting sold like a blighted corner lot or a bankrupt Trump casino in Atlantic City. Or even whether Denmark has the authority to sell it, much less the interest. 

Never mind that if Denmark had come to Trump and asked to buy New York City, where I live (Oh, how I wish! I could have Danish medical care, retirement benefits, and terrific pastries....) Trump would have laughed them off his Twitter feed.

You, Madame Prime Minister the good sense to call an absurdity an absurdity. As Trump's followers would say, you told it like it is. Whereupon Trump had one of his infantile hissy fits, cancelled the visit to Denmark that he had invited himself to take, and called you “nasty.”

However, don’t regard his name calling too seriously. He called you nasty because he only knows two adjectives, okay maybe three, and none of the others was adequate to reflect his disappointment that you wouldn’t indulge his whim du jour. 

Not to worry. By today he was off Denmark and back onto crashing the American  stock market yet another time. Unlike purchasing Greenland, he actually was able to crash the market by tweeting a bunch of orders that he has no power to singlehandedly impose  under law — such as ordering U.S. manufacturers out of China, telling the Federal reserve again to cut the discount rate, and generally putting on his best impression ever of a six year old having a foaming-at-the-mouth temper tantrum. 

This means, Mme. Prime Minister, that you’re off the hook today. And tomorrow, too, since he’s undoubtedly going to spend tomorrow, and of course tonight, finding other people to blame for the stock market’s 623 point avalanche of losses.

He’ll no doubt blame Chairman Powell of the Fed. Maybe he’ll throw a rock at Apple Computer for making its IPhones in China. Maybe he’ll demand that Congress eliminate all taxes so that the economy can be more overstimulated and drive the market back up again  Maybe he’ll decide that somehow it’s Hillary Clinton’s fault, or Obama’s. I’m not sure how, but Donald is a very imaginative child — in fact, a "genius" according to him — so don’t put it past him.

With so many people he can target, it’s highly doubtful that he’ll blame you for the crash, although actually, with Trump you never know.

Anyway, as somebody who has experienced, just a tiny bit, the charm and goodwill of the Danes, I did want to apologize to you for our very, very, very badly behaved enfant terrible.

Oh, and at long last, thank you Denmark for the coffee and cake.

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