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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

More Big Damn History: POTUS

As an addendum to an earlier article, we have taken the time to dig up some more amazing facts about past American Presidents.

James A. Garfield was born of Welsh ancestry. As it is common knowledge that the Welsh as well as the Finnish are shape shifters, so too, Garfield inherited this fascinating trait. While he would spend many a leisurely afternoon in the form of a cat roaming the halls of the White House, others in his cabinet were forced to do the real work of governing the nation.

James A. Garfield in his favored form of a cat

Unfortunately for Garfield, he wasn't able to shape shift in time to avoid the bullet fired by Charles J. Guiteau on July 2, 1881 which took his life.

While many people who read the above sentence know that President James Garfield was fatally shot on July 2, 1881 becoming only the second President assassinated in U.S. history. Many of those same people know that Chester A. Arthur then ascended to the Presidency and served for four years. What many of those people don't know is that there never was a Chester A. Arthur.

Arthur was a completely fictional creation. The Democrats and Republicans secretly formed a coalition government and hired an out of work New York actor named Charles Hallman to play the role of "Chester A. Arthur". The coalition government was so successful that their fictional front man, Arthur, is roundly considered "The Father of Civil Service" and no less than Mark Twain himself said of Arthur "No man ever entered the Presidency so profoundly and widely distrusted, and no one ever retired...more generally respected."

For some reason, the two parties have never attempted another coalition and the fictional Arthur's legacy stands as the only evidence that sometimes people in Washington aren't total douchebags.

Franklin Pierce is an often forgotten President not having the name caché of a Kennedy or Bush, nor was he lucky enough to be printed on a bill or carved into Mount Rushmore. But Pierce was important for one single reason: he was a cyborg sent from the future to capture the Presidency and keep America from being destroyed forever.

Had Cyborg-Pierce never been sent back through time, Winfield Scott would have won the Presidency handily. Unfortunately, three months later he would have died from food poisoning due to the ingestion of some bad salmon. At that point, Vice President William Graham would have ascended to the Presidential office and immediately instigated a devastating 28 year war with Canada that would have ended with Minnesota, Montana, and both Dakotas being annexed by Canada. By 1886, five years after the American/Canadian war ended, Canada would be well on its way to becoming the world superpower we now know America to be.

Cyborg-Pierce reaching for his laser pistol

Thankfully for freedom and the American way, some disgruntled super-patriots spent fifteen years creating a cyborg and by 2018, Franklin Pierce was ready to be sent back in time to stop the travesty that President Graham had wrought. True story.

Martin Van Buren served as both the 8th Vice President (under Andrew Jackson) and the 8th President. Serendipity, right? In truth, Van Buren didn't matter a whit in either capacity and most people today simply ignore his existence. Sure, in an earlier article we mentioned Van Buren's interesting work with hamsters and time travel utilizing a machine he crafted from tampons and aluminum foil, but none of that was done while in office and as such has been largely forgotten.

In fact, in 1976 a major publisher produced a bicentennial series of Presidential encyclopedias. Even though there had been 38 Presidents up to that point, there were only 37 volumes. Van Buren didn't make the cut. Even the fictional Chester A. Arthur made the series. Poor Van Buren.


In further installments of this series, we will examine how Millard Fillmore discovered rock n' roll and designed the Fillmore Auditorium to feature this fascinating new form of music, Zachary Taylor's early line of hip-hop clothing designed 220 years before hip-hop was created, as well as Calvin Coolidge's passionate love of roots music and clogging.

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