Happy Presidents Day!

 WARNING: The following contains some truths, half-truths, and outlandish points of conjecture.  Students are therefore urged to not quote any of the below for scholarly research.  Unless you do not live in the United States.  Then, who cares?  Like anyone is gonna know the difference.

This is also kinda long.



    Until fairly recently, there was no such thing as “Presidents” Day.  Rather, we celebrated “Lincoln’s Birthday” on February 12th and “Washington’s Birthday” on February 22nd.  What’s more, these days were one shot deals, instead of the three day weekends we now observe.

    NOTE:  I just checked..."fairly recently" goes back to the 70s.  Geez-a-lou.

 


    I remember feeling gypped whenever they fell on the weekend.  So, we were all gladdened when the feds decided to ignore history and insisted that George and Abe were born on Mondays.  Screw ‘em, I guess they figured.  They’re dead anyway.

"What!?  Son of a...!"
    Like I said, though, we now have Presidents Day instead of two separate holidays.  Created to make room for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday holiday (no sense giving mailmen too many days off), Presidents Day was meant to commemorate both our 1st and our 16th presidents.  And sales on cars, sheets, and living room furniture.

    So as not to offend either the Washington or Lincoln camps (boy, don’t get those two together in the same room!), Presidents Day was set in the middle of their birthdays.  Or the third Monday in February.  Or whichever made for the better three-day weekend.

"So, now I gotta share my holiday with that 'Father of Our Country' effin' showoff?  That sucks, dude."

    Like Thanksgiving, this made it pretty easy to plan for, as a quick inspection of a calendar would quickly identify when it was.  This is in stark contrast to Easter.  Besides knowing that it’s on a Sunday, I have no idea from year to year when it will happen.  Something to do with the lunar cycle and first day of spring.  During leap year.  When the moon is in its seventh house.  And the Pope consults his Magic 8-Ball.

 

"Or when Jupiter aligns with Mars."

  Oh.  That's pretty simple then.

    As time wore on, Presidents Day transformed into a day to celebrate all of our nation’s chief executives.

    As Presidents Day caught on, my family tried to come up with a dignified way to recognize the men who guided our nation’s ship of state.

    Even the sucky ones.

"I feel attacked."
    I have to admit, it was pretty difficult  getting all jazzed up for a holiday sandwiched between the saccharine-sweet Valentines and the inebriated bacchanalian excesses of St. Patrick’s Day.

"Kiss me, I'm Irish.  And a little nauseous."

       We finally decided on a “Dress as Your Favorite President Day.”  That way, we could  honor the leaders of our country.  And, even though my powdered wig and breeches drew a lot of stares at Home Depot, I felt it was the noble thing to do. 

    To avoid possible litigation, we then decided to pick a president who was not so well-known.  I mean, how likely would it be that a descendant of Martin Van Buren would call us before Judge Judy for saying their great-great-great-great-grandfather’s head looked like a beachball with feathers?  Not terribly likely.

    It really did, though.

"Not gonna lie, more than a little hurtful."

    To be sure, there are plenty of obscure stiffs from which to choose, guys who could be genuine stumpers in Trivial Pursuit.  In fact, were it not for their bosses catching cold at inauguration, having one heck of a tummyache, being assassinated, dropping dead from a stroke, or resigning, we probably would never have heard of Tyler, Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, Coolidge, or Ford.

    Bad enough we had Jimmy Carter.

    New for 2024!  Joe Biden!

"Total fake news hatchet job because I for one merit the honor of being designated the worst president in American history, if not the most orange, because I can guarantee you that Sleepy Joe wouldn't even know what we're talking about here or even be awake to hear the nomination, that I can promise!"


"And, by 'worst,' I mean 'best!"
    

"Is it time for Dr. Jill to tuck me in?"

    Hoping to stand out with my unknown president, I chose a man who was legendary in the Republican Party.  A man who put the needs of his fellow citizens before his own.  A man whose hard work paid off handsomely.  A man who had the fortune of being Vice-President when James Garfield was assassinated in 1881:  Chester Alan Arthur, 21st President of the United States.

    Known primarily for his facial hair and uncanny ability to remain innocuous, Arthur had the fortune of being Chief Executive during the Gunfight at the OK Corral when Kurt Russell, starring as Wyatt Earp, defeated the Clanton gang with the help of his brothers, Doc Holliday, and a killer moustache.

"Suck on this facial hair, Martin! 
Oh, wait.  Let me rephrase that."

     Arthur became president the year Alexander Graham Bell perfected the first metal detector.  This was a step up for the beleaguered Bell who previously invented the machine used to try to locate the bullet lodged in Garfield’s (the president, not the cat) body.


"Yes, hi.  I'd like to speak with you about your car warranty."

    President Arthur was especially opposed to the Spoils System.  This was even after he was informed by his cabinet that it had nothing to do with milk being left out overnight.

    A champion of Civil Service reform, because he wanted to avoid “another Civil War” at all costs, Arthur is regarded as the “Father of the Civil Service and the Union-Mandated Ten Minute Coffee Break.”

    Not content with remaining somnambulant on the domestic front, he furthered his nation’s outreach when the United States established formal diplomatic relations with Korea (thus discovering Ping Pong), organized the Alaskan territory (it was a mess), and continued the process by which land was stolen from Native-Americans and millions of buffalo were slaughtered by gangs of drunks celebrating St. Patricks Day.

"That's racist, boyo."
    Shockingly, he was denied nomination of his party for the presidential election of 1884.  Evidently, party bigwigs weren’t terribly impressed with neither his record nor his campaign slogan of “At Least I’m Not Millard Fillmore.”

    Instead, they gave the nomination to someone whose name escapes me, but, honestly, who cares?  Whoever he was, he was defeated by the Democrat candidate for the presidency.

    Yes, Grover Cleveland became the 22nd President of the United States primarily on the strength of HIS slogan:  “I May Be Fat as a House, But I Ain’t Chester Arthur.”

    Hmm, maybe next year I’ll choose Benjamin Harrison.

 

         

Ay, There's the Rub

      



    My wife groaned in pain next to me.
    
    When I asked what was wrong, she said that she must have slept 
wrong the previous night.  Her neck felt as if a thousand pitchforks 
held by a thousand little demons were jamming into it.  Would I 
massage it a little with some Icy-Hot?

    Since we had only been married a week, I, of course, was only too
happy to oblige.  Perhaps, after the passage of a few years, I would 
feign sleep and ignore her request through faux snores.  But, today?  
I would be a model groom.

    Considering I had just woken up myself, I rolled out of bed and 
stumbled into the bathroom adjacent to our bed.  I didn’t bother 
putting on my glasses.  I figured the task at hand didn’t call for long-
distance, or any other kind of, vision.

    I grabbed the small white tube from underneath the sink and 
jumped onto the bed.  She had already sat up, her pajama top pulled 
up.  I had easy access to neck and shoulders.

    Our cat perched on the dresser, intensely curious as to all the 
hubbub about to commence.

    “Okay,” I cautioned as I squirted a small dollop between her 
shoulder blades, “this will be a little chilly at first.  But, then it’ll 
warm up quick enough.”

    As I spread the cream around her shoulders and up her neck, I 
noticed that it didn’t feel right.  It was a little stickier than I thought 
it should be.  It was white, of course, but it didn’t have the 
consistency you’d expect a warming balm to have.

    The cat, even more curious, poked her nose closer to get a better 
look.  All of a sudden, she began to sneeze.  Well, that was odd, I 
thought.  I never heard the cat do that before.

    The ointment also didn’t give off that “Icy-Hot” kind of smell.  In 
fact, it had a minty aroma.  I leaned in and took a small whiff.  Yep, 
peppermint.

    Well, that was as odd as the cat’s sneezing fits.

    Without turning, my wife asked, “Shouldn’t it be getting a little 
warmer?”

    I agreed and she said, “What’s the expiration date on the tube?”

    Since I had bought it only a month ago, I seriously doubted 
that would be the case.  Something else had to be going on wit…
then I looked at the tube laying on the bedsheet.
    
    It said “Sensodyne.”

    As I washed the toothpaste from her shoulders, I told her to look 
on the bright side.

    Laughing, but not annoyed (remember, we were still newlyweds), 
she asked, “What would that be?”

    "Well, if I had grabbed the tube of Preparation H, your neck 
would have ended up the size of a #2 pencil.”

Happy Independence Day!

     Or "Fourth of July" to the rest of the world.     Yes, yes, sigh, I know.  Many other countries, other than the United State...