Friday, February 11, 2005

I'm fully prepared for people to hate me after they read this. :evil grin:

There once was this INCREDIBLY rich man (Bill Gates type of rich) who had a young son. He loved his son with every ounce of his heart and soul; this young boy was his universe.

The son, naturally, had a huge 1st birthday party - the father spared no expense. Granted, the kid was only 1 and wouldn't remember it, but the dad didn't care. That night, as they sat down to open gifts, the little boy grabbed the present from his dad. He opened it up and inside there was one ping pong ball. The kid had no clue what it was about, of course, because he was a toddler, but the ping pong ball was put in his toy box, just the same.

The following year, on his 2nd birthday, the father gave him one ping pong ball again. Still, the kid didn't know or care so it wasn't a big deal.

The third birthday rolled around. There was a little more fanfare this year because the boy was aging and knew that he loved cake and presents. They even invited some other kids from his play group. Then, as he was opening the presents, he got to his father's - only to open yet another ping pong ball. The little boy tossed it around for a bit but quickly got bored and moved on.

His 4th birthday came along and it was the largest bash yet. His pre-school friends and their parents were there. There were clowns, jugglers, a magician, pony rides, you name it. When it came time to open his father's gift though, he got - you guessed it - one ping pong ball.

This was repeated every single year, right up until his 16th birthday. The son never questioned it because he and his dad were very close and it didn't matter what he got for his birthday. He was a good kid, and even though he was rich, he was kind-hearted and cared more about family than material posessions. Still, on his 16th birthday, he was hoping for a car (what 16 year old isn't - especially those who have filthy rich fathers?). Instead, he was given just one ping pong ball. Mind you, he didn't even have a ping-pong table, but he had 16 years worth of ping pong balls.

Seventeenth birthday, one ping pong ball.

Eighteenth birthday, one ping pong ball.

Nineteenth birthday, one ping pong ball.

This is how it happened every single year, no matter what. He got nothing else from his dad except one measly little ping pong ball.

By the time he turned 21, he was a tad annoyed but he had long gotten over trying to figure out why he was only getting one ping pong ball.

This kept happening with every birthday, even as an adult. The son finally got married and was ready to start a family of his own when tragedy struck and his beloved father became terminally ill. The son kept a constant vigil at his father's bedside and when he knew the time was drawing near, he simply couldn't resist....

"Dad, I've loved you both like a father and a best friend. I've always looked up to you and wanted to be just like you. You've fed me, clothed me, put a roof over my head.... but there's just one thing I don't understand. Every single birthday gift you've ever given me has consisted solely of one ping pong ball. I just don't get it. You could have bought me anything in the world but instead you just gave me one ping pong ball. I'm not ungrateful. I appreciate all you've done, but I'm rather curious - why did you do it?"

The father replied, "Son, you're my only child. My pride and joy. I never knew a love like this existed until I had you. Being a father has been the happiest job I've ever had. I cannot keep this from you any longer. Lean in closer and I'll tell you why I only gave you one ping pong ball each year. You need to know."

The son's heart skipped a beat as the expanation he sought so desperately was about to be revealed. He leaned it to hear his father's words and just as his dear ole' dad drew his breath to begin speaking.....

He died.

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