Find The Pony
Find The Pony : Phrases
To find value or good where none is evident.
Okay, so we are out of work, have a big mortgage and no job prospects in site. Things don't look good but what we need to do find the pony in all this.
From an old joke about two brothers, one an optimist, the other a pessimist. One Christmas the boy's parents set out to get presents. Knowing the pessimist son was hard to please the parents first tried to find him a present, but each idea considered was rejected because the parents were sure the boy would be dissatisfied. Finally they decided to get the boy a shiny new bicycle.
Unfortunately they spent so much time trying to pick the present for the pessimist son that they had little time left for the optimist son. Not to worry they reasoned, he is easy to please. So they collected some horse droppings from the barn, put them in a box, and gift wrapped the package.
On Christmas day the pessimistic son opened his present first. Predictably he was unhappy with the bicycle being certain he would fall and injure himself.
The optimistic son then opened his package. With great enthusiasm he began to empty the horse droppings from the box as he exclaimed I know there is a pony in here somewhere.
The phrase find the pony was popularized by President Ronald Reagan who used it in a press conference.
Interestingly this phrase has a very different meaning to Brits. The problem of horse droppings accumulating in the streets in the days of horse and buggy prompted the use of a trap. The trap is a bag suspended behind the horse to catch the droppings. The phrase Trap and pony came to mean horse droppings. In time the phrase has been shortened to just pony.
Hence in England Find the pony would mean to find the horse droppings.