Happy Zachary Taylor Day!
It’s President’s Day. Which really means nothing to most of us. It’s a day created from the hollowed hulks of two former, separate holidays – Washington’s Birthday and Lincoln’s Birthday. This joining of birthdays came from a decision by businesses and government agencies around the nation who assumed we didn’t need two days off in February. Rather, it should be more like one.
For those of us not in education or governmental positions, we don’t get the day off anyway. So whatever.
Regardless, I figured I’d better find a President to celebrate. I didn’t want to pick someone easy – like FDR or Lincoln – and I certainly didn’t want to alienate many of my readers (including a certain fellow Sioux Falls blogger over at Gadgetopia) by choosing my personal favorite, Bill Clinton (who wins the “personal favorite” title by default – he’s the only President I’ve voted for that has actually won).
I thought it would be fun to choose the last President to run under the Whig party. Unfortunately, I realized I’d be celebrating the life of Millard Fillmore, and I hate being associated with something so close to current conserva-comic Mallard Fillmore – a comic that seems to be around so newspapers can seem “fair and balanced” when running Doonesbury cartoons.
So, instead, I am here to celebrate the second-to-last Whig President of the United States: Zachary Taylor, a man who (if organized alphabetically by first name) comes last on the list of Presidents, whose name reminds most of us of famed child actor Jonathan Taylor Thomas, and who only spent 16 months as President of the United States of America before dying (the third shortest in history).
Taylor’s accomplishments are few. His cause of death is unknown, for the most part – it could have been cholera, or it could have been something very similar to cholera, or it could have been heat stroke. All we know is that his last words, “I should not be surprised if this were to result in my death,” were as uneventful as his presidency.
So take a moment and celebrate this man – a man of whom we barely know anything and of whom we could hardly care.
(Edit: Of course, after making this selection, I realized that Taylor’s Vice President was the aforementioned Millard Fillmore. Drat! Foiled!)