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...a sweatshop of moxie

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Presidential Autographs

As you may have garnered reading this blog, I love US Presidents.

Any US President, regardless of political party.

A few posts ago, I left a teasing cliff-hanger as to whom my favourite presidents of the United States may be.

I tipped my hand by saying that I loved Theodore Roosevelt second-most, and that I'm sure you know who my first fave president is.

The answer is, indubitably, Ronald Reagan.

To me, this self-made man, with his simple, unaffected, but unquenchable love of our shared country (as it has been mine too, since 2004), is America.

Everything I admire about America, he personifies, from drawing himself up by his own talents, charm, and purposefulness of beliefs, to his inherent understanding that America is not just New York, Los Angeles, or Washington DC, or even Duluth, Madison, or Portland...but all of it.

From sea to shining sea, with a cherry on top.

So, there I was, at a Museum shop, perusing the many tschokes these kinds of museum shops seem to practically specialise in.

(And the self-same objects are seemingly always on sale, from the Louvre, to Windsor Castle, to the Flagler Museum in Palm Beach)

That's when I saw this ruler-thingie.

The front shows the photos of all 43 US Presidents, to date.

Note how young and unwizened they look, caught at the precise moment they took office, since after they leave the White House, they look as old as dirt.

More interestingly, here are their autographs, even of that Franklin Pierce nobody really cares about.

For whatever reason, they are all rather squiggly and chicken-scratchish, as if these men said to themselves:

"Penmanship only mattered to John Hancock. I have my hand on the button!"

That's no example to show the kids, Mister Presidents!

Of course, I'm not one to talk.

In my defence, all doctors, future or present, have execrable handwriting. Just ghastly.

It's a wonder we don't poison more patients, really.

It's true, however, that I rather like my "hand", as we call it in the UK.

Sure, it's not the perfect Palmer Method handwriting my grandmother had, whose grocery lists could've been framed, they were so immaculate.

But it shares a certain Jeffersonian quality to it, I flatter myself.

A dramatic flourish of whimsy, formality, and none of that silly boring clarity evident in Jimmy Carter's signature.

Alas, being born outside of these great States, I can never become US President.

But at least, I can marvel at the 43 signatures above, which could launch a country to war, or desegregate schools, or bring a Civil War to a halt.

That's power, baby.

P.S.: When I purchased this ruler at the museum shop, the bubbly effeminate attendant put his thumb over the pic of George W. Bush, and said,

"Of course, this is how I think this ruler looks best."

Which I found adorable, since he said it in a lovely, lilting voice with more humour than hatred.

No skin off my nose who someone likes.

And I told him so.

"Ooh, then you won't like my opinion of whose photo I would rub off, if I could."

I'll let you guess on whose handsome Presidential mug, my thumb covered.

And you know what?

The attendant laughed heartily. Stout fellow.


  • Great post Victoria! Reagan is my favorite too! My guess is you covered up the peanut farmer!

    By Blogger Jose Aguirre, at Mon Apr 03, 09:00:00 am GMT-4  

  • I'm guessing you put your dainty, doctorly thumb over William Jefferson [Blythe] Clinton.

    Of course, had you done it in real life, you would have been the subject of many a tabloid article.

    By Blogger Ruth Anne Adams, at Mon Apr 03, 07:09:00 pm GMT-4  

  • Great post Victoria!

    Thanks, Jose!

    You may have to cover your eyes in the following days, as I will be unveiling a travellogue which MAY affect you, in the neighbourhood.

    That goes for Val and our Robert too, obviously. ;)

    Reagan is my favorite too! My guess is you covered up the peanut farmer!


    Before you read my "reveal" to Ruth Anne, think of another guy. See if you're right.


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue Apr 04, 01:40:00 am GMT-4  

  • I'm guessing you put your dainty, doctorly thumb over William Jefferson [Blythe] Clinton.

    Heh! Blythe, loved that.

    BTW, it's funny how many of our Presidents have had name changes, official and unofficial, don't you think?

    Gerald R. Ford is one, plus Ulysses S. Grant.

    And loosely, (Thomas) Woodrow Wilson.

    Of course, had you done it in real life, you would have been the subject of many a tabloid article.

    Damn. I look awful in a beret too.


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue Apr 04, 01:43:00 am GMT-4  

  • Okay, I decided to milk my revelation a bit more.

    So, these are my criteria:

    1- President whose political party I am not in love with

    2- President whose policies I think were less beneficent than popularly thought

    3- President whose personal style I would've laughed at, had I been alive then

    Can you guess who it is?

    Not Carter. Not Clinton.

    Carter and Clinton, are too close to me epoch-wise.

    Carter was simply an ineffective president, transformed into a bumbling fool at present.

    Clinton, whose face I truly shudder at when seeing, was however a fiscal conservative.

    So no, I don't dislike him.

    The president I obscured with my thumb, to the museum attendant's squeals, was:

    Lyndon Baines Johnson.


    Already given, although I did try to fool you with "handsome mug". Hah!

    I do have to say though, that that scar-reveal photo I saw, may perhaps be the Kruschchev-shoe- bang-on-UN-podium moment, which I'll never get off my mind.

    Great Society, my foot.


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue Apr 04, 01:48:00 am GMT-4  

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