Bill Clinton was visiting an elementary school. When he stepped into one of the classrooms, the young students were in the middle of a discussion related to words and their meanings.

The teacher asked the President if he would like to lead the class in the discussion of the word "tragedy." Our illustrious leader asked the class for an example of a tragedy." One little boy stood up and said,
"If my best friend, who lives next door, was playing in the street and a car came along and ran over him, that would be a tragedy."
"No," said Clinton, "that would be an accident."

A little girl raised her hand.
"If a school bus carrying fifty children drove off a cliff, killing everyone involved, that would be a tragedy."
"I'm afraid not," explained the president. "That's what we would call a great loss."

The room went silent. No other children volunteered. Clinton searched the room. "Isn't there someone here who can give me an example of a tragedy?"

Finally, in the back of the room, a small boy raised his hand. In a quiet voice, he said,
"If Air Force One, carrying Mr. & Mrs. Clinton, was struck by a missile and blown up to smithereens, that would be a tragedy!"
"Fantastic," exclaimed Clinton. "That's right! And can you tell me WHY that would be a tragedy?"
"Well," said the boy, "because it wouldn't be an accident, and it certainly would be no great loss!"

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Last updated March 17, 1999.
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