There’s an old saying, sometimes thought to be a blessing and sometimes a curse. It says, “May you live in interesting times.”
We certainly do live in such times. But, guess what?
American Presidents have always been kind of strange. Here’s some proof to make you feel better.
1. Benjamin Harrison The Scaredy Cat
President Harrison was the first to live in a White House with electricity. He was proud of the new technology. The only problem? He had a desperate fear of being electrocuted by light switches, so he never turned them on.
2. The President Who Was A Hangman
Before he became President, Grover Cleveland was once the sheriff of Erie County, New York. That meant that when a hanging was necessary, he was the one to do it. Yikes.
3. This President Was High
Not that kind of high. But still, this one is kind of funny. Teddy Roosevelt believed in family bonding. He decided that walking around the White House on stilts was a good plan. Every family member had their own pair of stilts for family high times.
4. Most Embarrassing Claim To Fame
Back in 1992, President George H.W. Bush was visiting Japan. He wasn’t feeling great. In fact, he thew up in the middle of a big state dinner, then passed out. A new word entered the Japanese vocabulary. “To do the Bush thing” means to vomit in public.
5. And You Though Trump Had A Temper
We know that President Trump gets nasty on Twitter and is short fused in person. But get this. President James Monroe once got into an argument with Secretary of the Treasury William H. Crawford. He got so mad that he pulled a pair of red hot fireplace tongs out of the fire and chased the Secretary right out of the White House.
6. The Secret Abolitionist
James Buchanan consistently bought slaves in Washington, D.C. He then quietly set them free in Pennsylvania.
7. The Puritan President
President James K. Polk was not exactly a fan of the party life. While he was in the White House, he and his wife banned all alcohol, dancing and even card playing from the premises.
8. The Presidential Bibliophile
President Millard Fillmore was a lover of books. He so adored the written word that when the Library of Congress caught fire in 1951, he raced across the city to personally help in putting out the fire.
And now for the crazy stuff.
9. The President With The Creepiest Pet
John Quincy Adams was one our earliest Presidents, and one who is usually thought of with some level of awe. But he had a really strange side. While he was President, he kept a pet alligator in the White House bathtub. He liked to let it out when visitors were around the building.
10. Loaded For The Senate
President Martin Van Buren was so disgusted with the partisan arguing in the Senate that he was known to bring a pair of loaded pistols to meetings with Senators, just in case things got too heated.
11. Run! Hide!
President Herbert Hoover used to routinely insist that all of the White House servants had to hide from him if he was walking by. He threatened to fire them if they didn’t hide themselves from his view.
12. The Worst Fear Of All
Here’s a phobia that our current President has not experienced. President Rutherford B. Hayes suffered from childhood with an intense fear of going insane.
Interesting times, indeed. I guess there have been lots of interesting times here in the U. S.
Here are even more quirky facts about the guys in charge.
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons.