Facts About the Presidents

Do you feel different, out of step, 
last to be picked for badminton?
Take heart,
Oddness is a thoroughly American thing.

Consider the presidents!
Millard Fillmore once suffered a minor fall down some back steps at the White House while secreting one of the domestics away from Abigail's jealous eyes.

The injury healed, but at the wound site, a large, prehensile tail began to grow. 
Fillmore could sometimes be found hanging upside down from an Oval Office chandelier while his hands remained free to sort and sign important documents.
Once, while playing cards with Secretary of State Daniel Webster, he set down a straight flush with his tail, enraging Webster and resulting in some unfortunate gun-play with small caliber arms.
All of this was quickly hushed up, but it is fact.

James K. Polk had a small pair of antlers protruding from his forehead. Contemporary portraitists left the antlers out, but Polk, far from feeling abashed, was actually quite vain about his antlers, standing at the mirror in the presidential bedroom for hours, polishing them.
With the opening of the Smithsonian Institution, Polk arranged for his antlers to be placed on permanent display after his death, but when Polk eventually passed away from cholera, postmaster Cave Johnson made a disheartening discovery.

When Mr. Johnson tried to affix his newly created postage stamps to the antlers, in order to ship them the slightly more than a mile to the Smithsonian, he was aghast to find that the stamps refused to adhere to the presidential rack. 
Hurriedly slinging them under his arm to carry them by foot, he accidentally stabbed himself, and the antlers were tried and convicted of assault upon a government official. They were sent under military and police guard to federal prison, where they were immediately misplaced and never found again. 
This explains the lack of information generally available about James K. Polk's celebrated horns.

Finally, Chester A. Arthur showed great loyalty and courage when, even though his health was compromised by the presence of a not fully formed Siamese twin growing out of his right side, he sent a parade of cut-happy surgeons away, and named the twin Roscoe Conkling, eventually forming the "Stalwart" faction of the Republican Party with the blighted parasite. 
In time, Arthur offered his twin a place on the bench of the United States Supreme Court, a position which the twin accepted and was approved for by Congress. However, Conkling's physical inability to be any place where Chester Arthur wasn't, prevented him from ever serving.
It is said that, at dinner parties, Chester Arthur would unbutton his vest and allow Conkling to come out and amuse the guests with the one about the whore and the Legal Tender Act. 
Because of his prominence and position, this was tolerated, but when Arthur tried to dance with Governor Hamilton Fish's wife Julia, and the twin tried to take her hand, even the Chief Executive realized he had gone too far, and withdrew.
The twin later distinguished itself by winning a boxing match against Rutherford B. Hayes. Hayes is said to have acquitted himself well, but a punch from Conkling drove Hayes's cigar down his throat and set his stomach on fire, ending the fight. Conkling, a non-smoker, declared this a victory for "clean living".
Chester Arthur was tremendously proud of his parasitic twin, and wanted to see him remembered as a great statesman. Whether this can be said today is debatable, but the silent comedian Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle did derive his Christian name from Chester A. Arthur's little stowaway Roscoe Conkling.

I hope that this painstakingly researched article has made you feel better, Weirdo. And remember, nobody likes badminton anyway.


Constance W. Scripps, historian




hedgewitch said…
If only American politics actually was this gothically intricate and amusing--it's still bizarre and distorted, but the amusing, not so much. I enjoyed this informative and educational article, Professor Fireblossom, and look forward to your treatise on Grover Cleveland's zombie lovechild.
Mama Zen said…
I feel positively inspired!
Anonymous said…
as a child, I always said "predident". later, I conflated that with "fixodent", so now all presidents seem to be teeth-whitening poisons that, in large quantities, act as laxatives. ~
Helen said…
Dear Ms. Scripps,
Just what did you eat for dinner before retiring last night? This is the stuff of rutabaga and turnips! And I say Yum Yum.
Fireblossom said…
I did my doctorate thesis on that!
Fireblossom said…
Often characterized as a myth, this has now been proven as scientific fact.
Fireblossom said…
I had spam almondine.
G-Man said…
The story of "Monkey-Butt Fillmore" is fairly well known.
The story of "Horny Jimmy Polk" was really never believed...Until now!
And CA Arthur? I always thought that he was just overweight from all the
Peanut Butter and Bacon sandwiches he devoured. Thanks for the info.
You Rock Queenie!!!
Fireblossom said…
I simply report facts, G Man!
HermanTurnip said…
Dang it, I knew weirdness was at hand behind the scenes in the oval office. Thanks for confirming my suspicions.

And it's strange that you mention James K. Polk. Long ago I memorized They Might Be Giant's song about James K. Polk, and often sing it like a dirge around the campfire after I've had a few beers. Of course, this fact will remain our little secret, okay?
Anastasia said…
such an expressive and informative write!

love your descriptions and form.

oh, and absolutely love the header picture on your blog!

stacy lynn mar
Lolamouse said…
Whatever you were smoking, I want some!
Fireblossom said…
Yes, our little secret. (And millions of viewers...)

Fireblossom said…
I'm like this naturally, LM.

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