Unsuspected Presidential Vanities

Article excerpt

Suppose that until recently one traditional (if rather odd) question asked of all newly-elected or newly-seated U.S. presidents at their first press conference was this one. "Had you never entered public life, what do you think would be your chief claim to fame at this time?" (In their logologically-fancied responses that follow, the word "my" is always exogenous.)

George Washington: "My hit song, 'Waggoneer!'"

John Adams: "My jam-on-shad."

Thomas Jefferson: "My fame? Softer johns."

James Madison: "My joss-man I made."

James Monroe: "Me? My major nose."

John Quincy Adams: "My joy--quad chins, man!"

Andrew Jackson: "My 'Cajan Ken' sword."

Martin Van Buren: "My Burnt Vermin ana."

William Henry Harrison: "My hairy men's ill-worn hair."

John Tyler: "Try my hen, 'J-Lo.'"

James Polk: "My joke 'lamps.'"

Zachary Taylor: "My crazy 'royal' hat."

Millard Fillmore: "Me, I am my droll frill."

Franklin Pierce: "My pink fern 'Claire.'"

James Buchanan: "My Cuban 'hen' 'jamas."

Abraham Lincoln: "My 'banal lion' charm."

Andrew Johnson: "My shorn jaw, end-on."

Ulysses Simpson Grant: "My Messy Sarongs Nip Lust."

Rutherford Birchard Hayes: "My hardy brother Ed's fur chair. …