Posted by ESC on February 19, 2004
In Reply to: 'there's got to be a pony' posted by Lotg on February 18, 2004
: : : : : In a message to my favorite Aussie restauranteur, I used the expression above. It comes from an old joke about two sons, one an optimist, and one a pessimist. I won't go into the jokes' details, but want to ask, worldwide, if that expression is used and understood?
: : : : In the U.S., yes. (Where are you?) It was one of President Ronald Reagan's favorite jokes.
: : : : Thanks. I'm in Southern California now, but have lived all over the US, and the joke seems to be well known here. I don't know about other parts of the expanse of the english speaking world.
: : W.Va. & Ky. -- I have heard the joke and understood it.
: Ward, you're only the second person I've ever heard use it. Ronald Reagan being the first. I suspect this is a very American term, cos other than you two, I've never heard it before here in Australia.
: Meanwhile, I figured out what it means by the context in which you used it, however you've got to tell me the joke sometime so I have a clue what it really means???
From CBS News online, Writing For Ronald Reagan, New York, Aug. 5, 2003 http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/07/30/earlyshow/leisure/books/main565830.shtml Accessed February 19, 2004.
An excerpt from "How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life" by Peter Robinson
The Pony In the Dung Heap
When Life Buries You, Dig
Journal Entry, June 2002:
Over lunch today I asked Ed Meese about one of Reagan's favorite jokes. "The pony joke?" Meese replied. "Sure I remember it. If I heard him tell it once, I heard him tell it a thousand times."
The joke concerns twin boys of five or six. Worried that the boys had developed extreme personalities -- one was a total pessimist, the other a total optimist -- their parents took them to a psychiatrist.
First the psychiatrist treated the pessimist. Trying to brighten his outlook, the psychiatrist took him to a room piled to the ceiling with brand-new toys. But instead of yelping with delight, the little boy burst into tears. "What's the matter?" the psychiatrist asked, baffled. "Don't you want to play with any of the toys?" "Yes," the little boy bawled, "but if I did I'd only break them."
Next the psychiatrist treated the optimist. Trying to dampen his out look, the psychiatrist took him to a room piled to the ceiling with horse manure. But instead of wrinkling his nose in disgust, the optimist emitted just the yelp of delight the psychiatrist had been hoping to hear from his brother, the pessimist. Then he clambered to the top of the pile, dropped to his knees, and began gleefully digging out scoop after scoop with his bare hands. "What do you think you're doing?" the psychiatrist asked, just as baffled by the optimist as he had been by the pessimist. "With all this manure," the little boy replied, beaming, "there must be a pony in here somewhere!"
"Reagan told the joke so often," Meese said, chuckling, "that it got to be kind of a joke with the rest of us. Whenever something would go wrong, somebody on the staff would be sure to say, "There must be a pony in here somewhere.'"