Friday, June 12, 2009

Hail to the Least

In my life, I have heard many complaints about many presidents. However, if there was a Lame-O-Meter for presidents a long time ago (or even today for that matter), the one who certainly would have “pinned the needle” is William Henry Harrison, elected to office in 1841.

Historians generally agree that W.H. Harrison significantly paled in comparison to his namesake, Benjamin (23rd President), and likely would have paled in comparison to his namesake, George (4th Beatle).

The most obvious reason for this is William Henry's ridiculously short term of service—a mere 32 days before his untimely death. This is significantly less than the average gestation period of many lower mammals. Was poor W.H. assassinated? No, apparently that only happens to important people.

(Rumor has it that a group of political conspirators did contemplate the act, however. Their discussion went something like this, although I might be paraphrasing slightly:

Assassin #1: So, shall we kill Harrison to call attention to our extremist political views?

Assassin #2: No, I don’t believe anyone would notice. Let’s take out the Secretary of the Interior, instead.)

Alas, Harrison ultimately died from pneumonia. Some say it stemmed from his decision to give a 2-hour Inaugural Address. This is significantly longer than the average length of a concert put on by Lady GaGa. But as modern medical minds now know, standing without a coat and/or hat in frigid weather for a couple of hours does not lead to respiratory disease.

Still, it does beg the question: Where was Harrison’s mommy in all of this?

Given his quite limited time in the White House, it is hard to imagine that William Henry was able to accomplish anything of substance. Indeed, his major claim to fame was to be the first president to have his photograph taken. Apparently, this was done in anticipation of having him appear on the three dollar bill.

Unfortunately, the entire concept was quickly abandoned after Harrison’s death.

Historical Footnotes:
1. Benjamin Harrison was William Henry’s grandson.
2. Some of the facts contained within this post actually are true. I forget which ones, however.


Chris said...

Oh, man, this was great! Probably would've paled in comparison to his namesake George (4th Beatle) just cracked me up. Great stuff.

Dave said...

Chris: You know, sometimes the clouds part and an actual funny line comes through. Too inconsistent to wager on, however. In any event, thanks for the kind words.

Shawn said...

Are you sure? That William Henry Harrison was a President? Or Benjamin Harrison? I've never heard these names.

Dave said...

Well Shawn, you might have if you were 150 years old or something. Or if you read. Or watch the History Channel. Or visit my blog. Oh wait.

Jeff said...

I still wish I had done my senior thesis in political science on "The Presidency of W.H. Harrison." A great excuse for a short paper and if the professor had called me out on it, I could have accused him of not respecting a president and had him branded an America hater. I'm diplomatic like that.

I agree with Chris: "George (4th Beatle)" was a laugh out loud line.

Dave said...

Jeff: Funny thing, I actually did a report on Harrison (actually called "Ol' Schmucky" during his election campaign). Unfortunately, it was in 5th grade. Still, I did receive a "C" on the project, so there was a silver lining.