Well, it’s President’s Day again, and time to pay homage to those 44 fellas who have occupied the office of President of these United States.
This holiday began as a celebration of the birthday of Old #1, George Washington, way back in 1879. But these days it is a celebration of all of our Presidents. As such, we bring you a few interesting tidbits about them.
- Speaking of the Father of our Country, despite popular myth, his teeth weren’t made of wood; they were made of gold, lead, animal teeth, and ivory from elephant and walrus tusks.
- In addition to being the date on which we celebrate the founding of our nation, the Fourth of July has importance to four of our Presidents: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson (#2 and #3) both died on July 4th 1826. #5, James Monroe, died on July 4th, 1831. And Calvin Coolidge (#30) was born on July 4th 1872.
- Wondering about #4? James Madison had the distinction of being the shortest President at 5 foot 4, and he weighed less than 100 pounds. Lincoln (#16) was the tallest at 6 foot 4.
- #12, Zachary Taylor, never voted for President.
- Andrew Johnson (#17) was drunk at his inauguration…and why not?
- In addition to being the only President to serve two non-consecutive terms (making him #22 and #24), Grover Cleveland also was the legal guardian of an 11-year-old girl, married her 10 years later, and made her the youngest First Lady at age 21. He also had an artificial jaw made of vulcanized rubber.
- William Henry Taft (# 27) was our weightiest President at 332 lbs. After leaving office, he lost 150 lbs., as well as becoming the only ex-president to serve as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
- #29, Warren Harding bet the White House china in a poker game…and lost it in one hand. Oh yeah, and his middle name was “Gamaliel”. Hard to believe people don’t name their kids that anymore.
- Another tidbit about Calvin Coolidge (#30): he had a morning ritual in which someone rubbed Vaseline on his head while he ate breakfast in bed. Try it! It’s fun, and healthy!
- Herbert Hoover (#31) and his wife learned to speak Mandarin Chinese fluently, and would speak it around the White House to prevent others from understanding them.
There are lots more, as every President has had quirks, foibles, and downright faults. That’s important to remember in these tumultuous times: Presidents are human (generally) and as such, have human flaws. Fortunately, the Republic is strong and resilient. Despite every effort to bungle, destroy, or otherwise besmirch the office, the Republic soldiers on.
So, on this day of remembrance, pick out your favorite Prez and pour one out for your homie. Unless it’s Andrew Johnson…he might object to the wasting of alcohol.
Today’s Fact Cetera
After becoming the first President to not get his own party’s nomination for a second term, he got drunk, got on a horse, and ran over a woman.