Another Presidents’ Day has come and will soon be gone, ladies and gentlemen, and I find myself feeling a little older and wiser because of it. Presidents’ Day is a blissful time of year, a glorious holiday that has retained its quiet dignity. Very little commercialism surrounds it. We are not inundated by P.D. cartoons, mascots, hassles, guilt. In fact, it is mostly ignored. Between Valentines Day and Chinese New Year, mid-February is an active time of planning and celebrating.
I think it is time for a change! Let’s remove focus from that pink and red heart-shaped atrocity known as Valentines Day – who needs it anyway – and begin celebrating Presidents’ Day the way it should be celebrated! I think that it being mostly known as yet another day when the lazy postal workers get to not deliver our precious mail, and one more day when mattress salesmen get to host a SALE SALE SALE, is a shame and a tragedy. There have been many great men among our list of 44 or so Presidents. And many not-that-great men, too.
Scientists tell me that Americans know only a handful of our president guys. George Washington and Abraham Lincoln are seen everywhere you look, and Jefferson, FDR, JFK, Ted Roosevelt, and some of the more recent presidents are also pretty famous, too. But what of the early 1800s? What did they have to offer? And the late 1800s, what about them? They had their characters and their scandals, but they go by largely unnoticed by Joe or Jane Anybody. Historians are the only people both good and brave enough to write books for other historians to read, books about these commanders-in-chief, so that they do not fade into obscurity. But I don’t want the historians to fight the good fight alone! I want to help them!
In the future, I will help create a world where Presidents’ Day is marked by parades, and themed parties where people dress up in costumes modeled after their favorite presidents. I will contribute with various desserts and appetizers which actually look like the presidents, or maybe will represent the snacks that they are recorded to have actually enjoyed. There will also be cards sent and given to each other. That is how I have helped this year. I have made a handful of cards highlighting the faces and one short quote from some of the lesser-loved presidents. These cards are drawn on MS Paint and would include the accompanying text on the backs, if MS Paint allowed there to be backs. In fact, these are more than simple greeting cards, these are modelled after collectible Wildlife Cards that you might have gotten as nerdy children who were interested in zoology. I couldn’t have been the only one!
John Adams was the second president and one of the big important Founding Fathers. Unfortunately for him presidentially, he was sandwiched between George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and people just don’t really think he was that interesting in comparison, I guess.
So John Adams, in Washington’s shadow, did some things as president that incited the rage of Jefferson who decided to take matters into his own hands and trounce Adams in the next election somewhat and pretty much undo all the things Adams and Washington had done because Thomas Jefferson was a nice guy like that. But this isn’t about him.
John Adams also had the misfortune of being a pretty ugly guy with an incredibly tiny mouth that was always slightly open, according to the portrait I used as a reference. What did he do with that tiny open mouth? You can bet he delicately fat-breathed because that man is a little rotundity. Look at him. He has the sort of corpulence that only the wealthy elite could afford back in those times. John Adams you were a Founding Father, the least you could have done would be take care of yourself and not make me shudder a little when I look at you.
Little known fact: John Adams was the inspiration for Larry from the Three Stooges
Andrew Jackson is generally considered by historians as a bit of a horrible maniac. All eradicating natives and being militant and well… honestly I think of him as a violent, terrifying, blood-thirsty Clint Eastwood. He killed enemies with his eyebrows and bit the noses off of people who stepped in his way as he was out strolling around, surveying his territory.
If Andrew Jackson were alive today – he’d have killed us all by now. Even you and me.
He was involved in numerous duels because he had a fierce sense of pride and apparently very little sense of self-preservation. In one such duel, he allowed his foe, Charles Dickinson, to shoot first. Jackson took the bullet to the chest (it was never removed because it was too close to his heart), and then ended Dickinson’s life as the man reloaded his weapon. I imagine that Dickinson was reloading in a hilariously panicked fashion. I mean hilarious even though he was then murdered in cold blood.
I also imagine Andrew Jackson just looked like the evil Terminator with crazy hair.
I am including this sketch I did of Andrew Jackson being haunted by the ghost of Charles Dickinson even though it is historically inaccurate because there is no ghost brave enough to haunt such a man.
Run away, little ghost! It is definitely certain that Andrew Jackson would be able to figure out how to kill you again! It’s not worth it!
William Henry Harrison
Poor little William Henry Harrison.
This is the President who made a two hour long speech in the cold rain and died three weeks later. But why did this happen? It happened because he pretty much lied to get elected. His opponent made fun of him and ridiculed him and was all, “hey this guy is a log cabin BUMPKIN, everyone!” So WHH was all like, “yeah. I AM” (even though he was not). And he and his pals made money selling hard apple cider in bottles shaped like log cabins which endorsed him. This appealed to everyday Americans because they were all alcoholic bumpkins and didn’t want another aristocratic fancy-man as President.
So secret fancypants Mr. W.H. Harrison was elected and still felt that he needed to prove how manly he was and delivered a stupidly long speech in horrible weather without wearing foppish luxury items such as a “coat” or “hat.” Then he walked the entire inaugural parade to the White House.
Actually he died not from THAT because there were too many weeks of healthy living between that event and the events leading to his death. But it couldn’t have helped. He ran around befriending everyone and taking visitors and everything and managed to get exhaustion and pneumonia and then died.
MORAL OF THE STORY: Delicate men from aristocratic families and upbringings shouldn’t try to deceive the brawny, manly public. This is always what happens.
Millard Fillmore is the President I never remember the name of. And I mean that like, if I see a list of names, I usually forget that “Millard Fillmore” is a presidential name. Of course, he was never exactly elected President, he just assumed the role after the death of President Zachary Taylor.
So Old Millard was President, and apparently made a lot of people angry with him. He was a Whig and after his three years of glory were over, the Whigs refused to back him in a re-election campaign because they had sore butts over whatever policies he had been making or whatever. I couldn’t bring myself to learn about it because it was tremendously dull. He instead joined up with the illustrious Know Nothings like a horrible person and failed to be elected with them, thank god.
So, after all of that failing he strutted back to Buffalo, NY, where he acted like a pompous man of fame, worthy of admiration and parties I guess.
I am probably going to forget everything about him in five minutes.
Franklin Pierce was a well-liked man, an accommodating man, an alcoholic. He was great at parties but rather horrible as a president and is widely regarded as one of the worst, although he was clearly very stylish. He just wasn’t good at making the right decision or I guess having much of a spine. I did a report on him in second grade and I don’t remember reading about any of that in my resource book.
He was the President during a very difficult time in American History. Tempers were flaring between slavists and abolitionists. There were probably economic troubles and things like that. There always were. CHANGE was on the horizon, and sweet, kind little Franklin Pierce, this likable man who didn’t want to upset anyone anywhere, just couldn’t really flourish in that kind of environment. I’m not even sure if he tried his best to make things work or if he just stayed in bed all day, pretending to have an awful, undiagnosable sort of head cold.
After his four years of exhausting shame drew to an end, he spent the rest of his life in the bottom of various liquor bottles, it seems. He may have done other things, too, but he did them only with the strong scent of liquor on his breath.
Grover Cleveland stands out as the only president who was elected for two non-consecutive terms, but he was so many other outstanding things, as well! He was a good man, full of honesty and good intentions – a rarity among politicians in those days just as it is today. He disliked bossism and all of the other awful things running rampant back then, and he did his best to stop them.
I don’t actually have much more to say about this fellow, but if I don’t have another paragraph, one as FAT (but not TAFT FAT) as he was, then I will feel like I am dishonoring this president, who, from what I can tell, was just as Good and Nice – if not MORE Gooder and Nicer – than Washington and Lincoln, the Heavenly Angelic Duo of the Presidential Kingdom. How can a guy so sweet and jolly not be held in equally high regard? Why is he mostly forgotten and unknown? Why don’t I see him on a coin or any of my paper money? Children should be taught about this man because they should want to aspire to be younger, prettier, slenderer versions of him. I can only speculate that he must have angered a lot of rotten people back then who then tried to tarnish his reputation as much as possible and have History swallow him whole, without a trace. WELL I WON’T LET THAT HAPPEN.
Fact: He is also widely known as the last decent, honest person born in New Jersey until the birth of Patrick Warburton in 1964.
Warren G. Harding
Warren G. Harding is one of Ohio’s boys, regularly listed among the Most Corrupt of all the presidents! Go on with your bad self, Mr. Harding!
He was a newspaper man, had disreputable friends, and a no-nonsense wife who very probably had him killed before he finished his term. She also burned all of his papers immediately after his death so who knows what scandals she kept us from knowing. It seems that Mr. Harding was a sociable man who schmoozed around and allowed his friends to push him to great heights as long as he repaid their kindnesses by appointing them in cushy jobs or possibly by helping them embezzle huge amounts of funds and pardon them later. From what little I know about him, I can determine that it is possible that beneath that tough exterior, he was awash in worry and horror over all that he was involved in and probably wished for death as an escape, while simultaneously fearing death because he probably believed in a fiery Hell in which there was surely a place set aside just for him. What a guy!
Here is another of his quotes I liked but felt was too long to try to write on there:
“I have no trouble with my enemies. I can take care of my enemies in a fight. But my friends, my goddamned friends, they’re the ones who keep me walking the floor at nights!”
Hahahaha wow, mister!
I Genuinely Hope You Had a Happy Presidents Day and That You’ll Have Many More to Come!
My Day was only mildly successful, compared to the ones I shall be enjoying in the future. But, I take comfort in the fact that this is certainly the best one I have experienced so far in my life. Gone are the days when I am only barely aware of this holiday. Here are the days when I obsessively aggravate my friends who really couldn’t possibly care less. Honestly, I’m not sure if I can count such people as friends at all!
Keep an eye out for next year, when I hope to have an article weeks in advance advising you on all of the joyful ways you can celebrate this day, WITHOUT having to resort to simply repeating barely coherent half-myths about Washington and Lincoln.