Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe – take your pick, we’re celebrating them all this Monday. You could do some serious cramming before the weekend, suss out who was Mexican American War and who was Spanish American War (Polk and McKinley), who was Ole Buck and who was Tippecanoe (Buchanan and the elder Harrison), who built the highways and who bought Alaska (Eisenhower and Johnson)… or you could fill your Friday, Saturday and Sunday with fun, fizzy drinks and fiction writing.
Here at the Narrator, we lobby for the latter. Still, you don’t need to totally write off Mister Head Honcho to have a good time. After all, the Presidents were just guys – guys full of story-sparking details.
This week’s Friday 5 looks at the Oval Office All Stars riddled with quirks that would still be compelling even if these men were mid-level managers at the local stationery store. These are plot-driving gems waiting to be unleashed in your next short story. Take a look:
Top Five Dead President Tales
- Too fat for the hot tub? Better expand! Taft was the widest man to take office. In fact, he once got himself so tightly tucked in the tub that he swore, never again!, and installed a new tub large enough to fit his 300 lb self or four full grown men. Just not both. Never both.
- River good; naked river better. John Quincy Adams was a committed skinny-dipper, dunking his buck-naked self in the Potomac nearly every morning he was in office. Adams was also the first president to take office without winning the most electoral or popular votes. Democracy’s loss = peeping toms’ gain.
- Players just can’t win. Thanks to modern science (which is exactly like CSI only with more silence and less cleavage), we now know Warren Harding died of high blood pressure and heart problems, most likely due to the cesspool of scandal he called his administration. However, at the time, the overwhelming word on the street was that the First Lady had poisoned him, finally putting a stop to his no-good heart-breaking extramarital-love-making ways.
- A tiny man wears the pants in this house. James Madison was tiny. Under 100 pounds and just 5’4″, six Madisons could fit in big Taft’s remodeled whirlpool. By the way, Madison was also the first president to wear trousers instead of knee breeches. Or maybe the breeches just looked like pants on him, shorty. Oh snap.
- All babies, no party. Tyler fathered a full fifteen babes, legitimate all, over the course of his life. He was a rolling stone in one way, though – he is the only President to have held office without belonging to any political party.
Do you know any Dead President Tales prime for our fiction? Slap ’em down in the comments!