I was sitting in my office today with the head of my PR department trying to come up with a blog for this week. He suggested I write part 4 of my apolitical blogs. I hemmed and hawed, but couldn’t think of anything interesting to write.
“Fine! I’ll write something stupid about stupid politics,” I said with a shake of my head.
He smiled and handed me a box of crayons. I couldn’t decide between Mango Tango or Inchworm, so he handed me the Jazzberry Jam crayon, and I used it. My wife walked into the room and asked what I was doing. I told her and pointed at my head of PR.
“Figures,” she said.
“Why would anyone want to be the president?” I asked.
The three of us looked at each other.
“What makes a good president?” I asked after an excruciating long silence.
They stared at the ceiling, but couldn’t answer my question.
What does make a good president? I looked at my list of who I believed to be the best presidents in our countries’ history.
Military conflicts, economic challenges and being born on February 29th are ideal for creating great leaders. Does anyone remember who was president after the War of 1812? It was James Madison, if you don’t know. Does anyone remember him? If he walked into the room now, would anyone recognize him?
“I would,” my wife said.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because he would be 170 years old.”
She had a point.
I decided to do some research into the private lives of some of our more obscure leaders. These are a few of the quirks I uncovered.
One of our presidents did not believe in bathing more than twice a year. I don’t think I’d like to be a member of her cabinet.
Another would never eat toast buttered on both sides of the bread unless boysenberry jam was added.
I discovered no less than four of our commanders-in-chief were ostracized by classmates for openly supporting the Chicago Cubs. Duh! How in the world were they ever elected?
One of our presidents moved from his hometown of Shaktoolik, Alaska, to Brooklyn, New York, because he wanted to acquire the accent.
Three of our bosses never won a game of Monopoly.
One did win a game of Monopoly, but confessed to using counterfeit money to pay his rent.
Not surprisingly, thirteen of our early presidents did not hold a driver’s license until they were over the age of 75.
I could not confirm this story, but it has long been talked about in the White House basement after consumption of massive quantities of unsweetened tea and Captain Crunch Booberry cereal. Allegedly, four ex-presidents once took a road trip to visit Mount Rushmore, climbed onto the sculpture and drew mustaches on the faces. To this day, President Johnson vehemently denies ever having been in either East or West Dakota. I think he doth protest too much.
It is true one of our presidents was expelled from kindergarten for stuffing the ballot box to be elected most likely to never be potty trained. I’m sure you can guess his name.
Three of our heads of state disappeared during campaign stops in Bermuda, Minnesota and were never seen again. They were all reelected anyway.
One president would only sign legislative bills into law if he could watch Romper Room immediately afterward.
Three presidents appeared on Romper Room while on spring break instead of going to Daytona Beach.
Okay, this one I will name because… well… he’s been dead for several years. Martin Van Buren refused to board Air Force One unless he could do barrel rolls while buzzing the Mall.
One president was found hiding under the bed in the Lincoln bedroom after throwing a fit because his wife made him eat all his lima beans one night at a state dinner. He had been missing for 136 days before anyone realized he was AWOL.
Five heads of state could never spell Wyoming correctly, so they refused to recognize it as a state.
After serving his four year term and being defeated in his bid for reelection, one leader moved to Cranberry Junction, British Columbia, and opened a vegetable stand selling only kohlrabi, Belgian endive and chayote. He was so successful, he opened franchises in fishing villages on the north coast of Russia, three in bunkers in Greenland and one on Coney Island next to Nathan’s.
My wife did some research of her own and discovered these incidents. While my presidential quirks have been documented and confirmed by myriad sources, I’m not sure the same can be said of these bizarre and outlandish flights of fantasy. Unlike me, she doesn’t hesitate to reveal the names associated with these laughable circumstances.
One president was arrested for running over a woman with his horse. Franklin Pierce, the country’s 14th president, was arrested for running over a woman with his horse. He never received jail time, though, likely because of insufficient evidence. The case was dropped in 1853, his first year in office.
Canaries froze to death at Grant’s inaugural ball. Grant’s inaugural ball in 1873 was to be spruced up with the addition of beautiful canaries. Unfortunately, due to the extremely cold temperatures the canaries froze to death.
Chester Arthur sold historical artifacts to redecorate the White House. Arthur had ambitions to give the White House an entirely new look. In order to fund this endeavor, he sold 24 wagons filled to the brim with antiques from past presidents. One of John Quincy Adams’ hats and a pair of Lincoln’s pants could be found in that pile of historical loot.
James Garfield could write in two different languages at one time. Garfield, among many things, was ambidextrous, but his capabilities went far beyond his ability to write with both his left and right hands. He developed the unique talent of simultaneously writing in Greek with one hand and in Latin with the other. It is unknown, however, if he was fluent in English.
Calvin Coolidge enjoyed having petroleum jelly rubbed on his head. We thought having two pet raccoons by the names of Reuben and Rebecca was weird, but then we stumbled upon this gem. Evidently, Coolidge liked to have his scalp massaged with petroleum jelly — which is Vaseline — while he ate his breakfast in bed. Talk about a bizarre morning ritual.
I read my wife’s obviously fabricated anecdotes, and decided to include them in this blog if only to show people how far she is willing to stretch the truth to elicit a laugh from her readers. Shame on her!
Upcoming is a blog about the vice-presidents and the unusual part-time jobs they worked to have something useful to do while waiting for a chance to lead the country. For instance, did you know Hannibal Hamlin worked as an usher at a local DC theater?