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How Did You Celebrate the Presidents Day Holiday? Oh, You Didn't Do Anything Either?

Presidents Day is great ... for lame trivia and mattress sales.

I hate to say it, but my February always gets a little better when Presidents Day comes to a close. It’s not that I don’t care about history, or presidents — heck, I ripped the name of my column off FDR — I just don’t care about all presidents, and I certainly don’t find them to be better, or higher-class people than us commoners. They’re not kings. We hire them, we fire them, and they only sit in that room without any corners for a maximum of eight years (usually). And I’m pretty sure George Washington agrees with me.

There’s really no way to celebrate Presidents Day. I didn’t send President Obama a card this year, nor did I send any cards to President Bush or Clinton. I also didn’t hang up a portrait of the president in my living room. Each one of those presidents spent millions of dollars to become president, and each president is compensated while in office — they don’t need my thanks. I respect the president as the leader of the country, but I respect the Founding Fathers a bit more — and not all of them were president.

From what I gather, Presidents Day, which is saddled between Lincoln’s and Washington’s birthday for some reason, is meant to celebrate mundane presidential trivia: William Henry Harrison had the longest inaugural address, but spent the shortest amount of time in office; George Washington may or may have not chopped down a cherry tree; Abraham Lincoln supposedly grew a beard upon the recommendation of a child; and James Buchanan was the only president to be a bachelor — and the only one born in Pennsylvania.

We got it. Some presidents were quirky, some presidents are from your hometown, and some presidents were president longer than other presidents.  How does knowing which president was the fattest help me understand the history of this country?

While discovering goofy facts about prior presidents is, well … goofy, if not holiday worthy, it’s not the worst part about Presidents Day. The worst part about the day is the following phrase: “20 to 60 percent off all overstock faucets at Home Depot on Presidents Day,” and no, I didn’t make that up. Nothing says America like discounts on overstocked faucets. Ford, Mazda and The Dump are also honoring the presidents of this country with discounts. A Jeep commercial today said, “Here’s to the Founding Fathers for teaching us the importance of a little extra torque.”

I couldn’t have said it better. When I think of off-roading in a Jeep Cherokee Laredo, visions of John Adams pop into my head.  

So the best-case scenario for this holiday is that I get the day off, get a good deal on a mattress, and learn which president was the fattest.

It was William Taft, by the way, and now that you know, you're a better American.

Jessica White February 22, 2011 at 09:53 PM
Presidents Day is such a weird holiday. I'm sure Washington wouldn't be too happy about it, either, since it was originally conceived as "Washington's Birthday" and was clearly meant to honor only him before every other state weighed in on the whole thing (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington's_Birthday). It's also hilarious how the term "Presidents Day" was popularized through retail advertising campaigns. Though, c'mon, you have to have a soft spot for the mediocre presidents - you won't find their faces on dollars or on cents ;)
Mischa Arnosky (Editor) February 23, 2011 at 02:07 AM
... care-taker Presidents of the U...S... A!
Ryan MacNair February 24, 2011 at 01:07 AM
Taft wasn't just the fattest, though he did get stuck in the bathtub at the White House. He also was the first president to throw out the first pitch at a baseball game. John Quincy Adams used to skinny dip in the Potomac and James Polk was so stressed from the office of the presidency that he developed chronic diarrhea and so decided to not run for a second term. Yes, I am a pool of useless knowledge.

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