A new low in television broadcasting, from newly capitallist Eastern Europe:

Surprise, Surprise is a Romanian Television Program, produced by a Spanish company, in which various people, (generally local celebrities are invitied to the studio where they are "surprised" with a gift or a person from their past.

On Christmas Eve, they decided to do something for the poor.

Andrea Marin is the host of the show. She is a long haired, long necked, black eyed, black haired beauty who only dresses in the best french haute couture clothing. It's safe to say each of her dresses costs more than the average salary of a factory worker for one year.

(Dear God, I'm not a socialist, really I'm not, I'm more of a libertarian, and yet, how long will you let the wicked reign over your people? I mean, really).

An old man is helped into the studio by two strong young men. He is placed in a comfortable chair next to Ms.Marin.

"Now Liviu," Andrea asks sweetly, "you're homeless, aren't you?"

"Yes, " he says, embarrassed, (is he also drunk?), looking down, "yes I am."

"And tell the people in the audience what happened to you three days ago?"

"Some people beat me up and stole my wheelchair.

"And what have you been doing since then, Liviu?"

No answer.

"Yesterday, when we asked you, you told us you were crawling around in the gutter, didn't you?"

"Yes" (Whispered, shamefully).

"Yesterday night when you were crawling around in the gutter Liviu looking for food people had thrown out did you think you would be here in Pro-TV's studio, surrounded by friends, comfortable and warm in a big nice chair?"

"No, No I didn't".

"Everyone give a big hand to our guest tonight, Liviu!"


"Liviu do you know what our prize is tonight? We have a special prize tonight which was brought to you by Father Christmas. Do you want to know what it is? Wheel it out, boys!"

(Flicker of interest in the old, drunk homeless man's eyes.).

"Look, Liviu, it's a brand new wheelchair! Now you don't have to crawl around on the street anymore!" What do you think of that Liviu?

Tears of Gratitude, etc.

All this is reported exactly the way it happened, without one word changed. I had pretty much forgotten about it, but a friend of mine taped it and has recently reshown it to me. The tape is labeled, properly enough Things That Give Me a Newer, Lower View of Human Nature.

Nota Benum: The next week the newspaper "Libertatea" a Daily Sun style tabloid reported that the old man had had his wheelchair stolen again. No report yet on whether the staff of Surprise, Surprise bought him another one.

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