Feb 16th, 2009
Today is Presidents’ Day. This day used to be known as Washington’s Birthday until curmudgeonly Principals decided that giving kids both Washington and Lincoln’s birthdays off 10 days apart was just too much fun for the kids, and they combined the honors into one holiday.
This year we celebrate Lincoln’s 200th birthday and Washington’s 273rd. Most people recognize George Washington from his tenure on the dollar bill and the quarter, but after perusing the T-shirts we did run across a few interesting designs that might suggest that some folks didn’t pay complete attention in Mrs. Daly’s third grade American History class.
And so, with schools closed today, we’ll take over for Mrs. Daly to correct some apparent myths about George.
While some of you may wonder how anyone could make this mistake, we do understand the confusion – Harrison was a Whig, and Washington wore a wig. Also, Harrison’s nickname was “Old Tippecanoe,” and Washington crossed the Delaware in a vessel that included paddles.
MYTH: Washington wore a beret.
FACT: While Washington was not down with the beret (Jefferson was the Francophile), he was indeed fond of jaunty headwear: at his Inauguration his hat was trimmed with a feather, leading us to wonder whether he or Aretha Franklin would win the Most Ornate Inaugural Hat Award. For everyday accessorizing he tended to prefer a simple tricorne, as seen on small children in the school play about The First Thanksgiving.
Also worth noting is Washington’s general disdain for sleeveless shirts and long pants; in point of fact, Washington was much more prone to be wearing short pants and long shirts.
And that is because Washington was confident enough in his own leadership and masculinity to wear tights. And wigs. And lace. And velvet.
Of course it’s difficult to remember the finer details about any one President. Heck, not many people can name all 44 Presidents in order. And so, in honor of Presidents’ Day, we have two devices to help you memorize the Presidential lineup. The first is a song sure to delight your friends and neighbors, and the second is a T-shirt that we recommend for the tone deaf, the stage-frightened and those who can’t keep an audience for 10 minutes.
Happy Presidents’ Day. Yes, there will be a quiz on this later.