Monday, February 16, 2015

A Day to Celebrate Bird Poop and Cheap Furniture

Today is Presidents' Day. That time of year when we come together as a nation to celebrate our leaders and their ability to bring to us amazing deals on patio furniture. Oh, sure, we've got Abe Lincoln and George Washington -- whose birthdays have been neatly combined into one big two-fer-one blowout extravaganza. But what about the rest of the presidents? Those long-forgotten mediocrities like Grover Cleveland and William Howard Taft, AKA Uncle Jumbo -- whose primary achievement as chief executive was to give us perhaps the wackiest bit of presidential slapstick in our nation's history, when he -- all 332 pounds of him -- got stuck in the White House bathtub and had to be extricated by six plumbers and a gallon of butter.

And then there's Millard Fillmore, our 13th -- and perhaps most irrelevant -- president, who is best known (at least by me!) for successfully negotiating a treaty with Peru for the use of -- wait for it -- guano.

So move over, George and Abe. You’re going to have to share today with the Millard Fillmores and Franklin Pierces, the failures and flops. Because I've written a really bad poem celebrating them and their, uhh, achievements. So for all you Arthurians and Fillmorons out there, this bad poem is for you:

You ended up a Know-Nothing,
After starting out a Whig
But about Millard Fillmore
Now no one gives a fig.
Still, your picture hangs in the White House hall
Though you’re Presidential detritus
But you’d never have gotten there at all
If not for Zach Taylor’s gastroenteritis.

When it comes to mediocrity
Millard, you’re number one
You’re less memorable than Franklin Pierce
Who, while Prez, got nothing done
John Tyler and James Buchanan
Bow to your mediocre ways
And when measuring accomplishments
You’re no Rutherford B. Hayes

Compared to you Cal Coolidge was full of pep,
and Grover Cleveland was the bomb
At least Andrew Johnson was a roaring drunk
and Ford got shot at by Squeaky Fromme.
Warren Harding had the teapot dome
and gambled away the White House china
Martin Van Buren had awesome muttonchops
Why, even Benjamin Harrison was finer.

Herbert Hoover was not mediocre, he was bad
And so he cannot challenge you
And if Hoover was the worst president
Then Bush Junior smells like number two
That leaves just one inconsequential gent
To battle you, mano-a-mano,
But even Chester Alan Arthur can’t
Knock you off your pile of guano.