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Friday, March 1, 2002

Auctions and Daughters

Hi, Friends:

Part of my daily life is keeping a "Laughter Journal". I write about situations I see that make me laugh, about the people I laugh with, and what amuses me. Sometimes I go back and find I haven't laughed with someone in a long time, that's usually the point where I decide to put laughter back into our lives or move on. From time to time, I'd liked to share with you some of these experiences. The one I'm about to relate was both funny and a great learning insight about my daughter.

Last year I was invited to attend a fundraiser in Kansas City for "Heart of America". Just to be a part of the festivities, not to perform. They were having a silent auction, followed by a live auction. I brought my kids with me and they hadn't ever experienced this type of buying. So, during the silent auction we bought a pool table and a big rock that says "Family" inside of a heart. Then, the live auction started and it was fun to watch.

At the end of the auction, the auctioneer asked me to come up on stage. He asks me if I have anything to auction and I said I don't have anything. He says, "How about your tie?" It's a brand new tie and I'm not sure I'm ready to part with it but I say, "Okay." So, the auctioneers asks me, "How much did you pay for the tie?" I reply, "A hundred and twenty dollars." Everyone in the audience goes "Ohhhhh!" I take off my tie and hand it to the auctioneer. He says, "Let's start it at ten dollars." Someone yells, "Twenty". Then "Thirty". And the price keeps climbing pretty fast and now it's at a hundred and fifty dollars.

My friend who invited me to this fundraiser is sitting with my daughter, Natasha. She is telling him she wants to bid two hundred dollars and my friend helps her raise the bid! I'm saying, "Natasha, I'll have to pay for this, Honey you don't understand the way it works!" The crowd thinks this is very funny and begins to bid against her; and each time Natasha responds by increasing her bid. Her final bid is THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS!!! The crowd is roaring, Natasha is excited, and I'm not laughing.

We brought the pool table, the big rock, and the tie home with us. On the way home the kids wanted to play pool in the car (I called that our own version of a carpool). We put the pool table in the house, the big rock in our yard in front of the house, and the tie in a vault. It must be the most expensive tie in history and I don't want to get a stain on it.

This year, we were invited back to the "Heart of America" fundraiser and I asked Natasha not to bid on anything. I had to buy her a cute stuffed bear but it was worth it because they're auctioning off one of my paintings and they sell for thousands of dollars!

Spread the laughter.

Your friend,
Yakov Smirnoff


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