Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Remembering President Zachary Taylor

Remembering President Zachary Taylor This is a fake biography of President Taylor. This information in it is clearly designed for humor but I have no doubt that many school kids are using it as good source material for their papers!

From the site:

Considering the brevity of his stay in the White House (just under seven weeks), Zachary Taylor's spectacular legend seems grotesquely exaggerated, like the work of some crazed pre-Civil War spin doctor. But if anything, the reputation of our twelfth president has been muted in the century and a half since his death. Surrounded by controversy and swirls of almost unbelievable rumor since before he learned to walk, Taylor was the philanderer that JFK could only dream of being, twice the lush that Benjamin Harrison ever was. On a slow day, he was a bigger crook than Nixon, a worse gambler than James K. Polk, and more of an insufferable whining brat than George Bush. Few people are aware of this today.

The story of exactly how he acquired the peculiar nickname "muskrat head" has unfortunately been lost, but we do know that he was plagued with it almost from birth. His hatred of the sobriquet only increased with the years, and until the day of his tragic premature death, the mere sight of a muskrat, or the mention of the animal's cursed name, was enough to send him into a fearful rage. When, at the young age of six, he was taunted with the epithet by two schoolmates, Taylor stunned his headmaster by chaining the hapless pranksters to a windmill and feeding them clods of grass until they nearly burst. It was only his millionaire father's hastily arranged donation to the school that avoided an early end of Zachary's academic career. Ten years later, on a trip to the zoo with a young lady that he was courting, the unfortunate girl innocently remarked, pointing to a family of muskrats, that they were "queer-looking beasts." This set Zack on a rampage, turning monkeys, tropical birds, an alligator, and an antelope loose, and hurling a peanut vendor's stand into a mud hole.

As a young adult, Taylor's frustration and anger with his hated moniker manifested itself in more complex ways. Constantly subjected to verbal abuse and challenged to prove himself to his scornful colleagues, he exhibited increasingly bizarre and flamboyant behavior, hiding from no one in particular inside wagonloads of rotten vegetables, painting his beard blue, and on one occasion even tarring and feathering one of the Taylor family's chickens. While his antics occasionally earned him a certain amount of grudging respect from his friends, they never took him seriously, and this incensed him even more. From being a mere "discipline problem" in boarding school, Zack later grew to be a full-fledged terror, setting a local paper mill on fire, luring unsuspecting girls into his "secret clubhouse" in the sub-basement of the Taylor home, and dressing like a giant purple butterfly on religious holidays. Seeing Zachary Taylor sober was something few people could claim to have done.

No comments: