“I’m the big buck of this lick. If any of you want to try it, come on and whet your horns.”
Quite often, quotes on the internet can be dubious but Lincoln was an accomplished wrestler who made this open challenge to the crowd at one of his matches. Plus there’s the fact that he was defeated only once in the ring. Out of 300 matches! In other quarters, he was a licensed bartender and then there’s the whole emancipation bit he contributed to.
When it comes to Presidents, the United States has always had interesting ones with feats that seem straight out of fantasy. Ronald Reagan received “Most Nearly Perfect Male Figure Award” from the University of California in 1940. Gerald Ford turned down offers from two professional football teams for a career in law and was a model on the cover of “Cosmopolitan”.
Already starting to sound far-fetched?
These men top the list of “Most Interesting Presidents” and the legends surrounding them are nothing short of surreal. So take a sip of S.O.D.A (Suspension Of Disbelief in Actuality) and try to wrap your head around these heads of state with feats to match.
We briefly mentioned Andrew Jackson in our recent blog post about his innovative campaign strategy to get to the White House. Accounts of his exploits once he became President are what puts him on this list, though. For Jackson had a love of two things – parties and duels.
After his instatement, he threw a party at the White House and invited everyone. People trashed the White House but that didn’t dither Jackson from having other such parties at the White House over the years. Parties with tubs of whiskey and punch and one time, a 1400-pound wheel of cheese!
But Jackson was also a tough act. He enjoyed settling scores with duels and had a fair score of scores to settle – a few to defend the honor of his wife. Because Jackson married a divorcee (something people frowned at during the time) and challenged anyone badmouthing her to duel – with pistols. On one such duel, a man named Charles Dickinson shot Jackson in the chest. Jackson had that bullet lodged in him for the next 19 years and another in his arm from a barroom fight in 1813 with Missouri senator Thomas Hart Benton.
Jackson proved to be a tough man to kill. In fact, the first assassination attempt on a President’s life was made on Andrew Jackson by Richard Lawrence. He shot Jackson with two guns – both of which misfired. Jackson proceeded to beat Lawrence with his hickory cane (no wonder the man had earned the nickname “Old Hickory”).
You’ve probably heard of him. The man was a police commissioner, the assistant Secretary of the Navy, the governor of New York, a deputy sheriff, a cattle rancher and a war hero. He formed the first volunteer U.S. Cavalry regiment in 1898 by the name of Rough Riders. The Rough “Riders” are popular for their historic charge up San Juan Hill, which they made entirely on foot since they had to leave their horses behind. He was there.
Once, Roosevelt received a complaint from army cavalrymen about how they had to ride 25 miles a day for training. You know what Roosevelt did? He rode his horse 100 miles from sunrise to sunset so that no one could raise such namby-pamby complaints again!
What puts him on this list though?
Once Roosevelt refused to shoot a bear cub. The incident reported all over the media about Teddy’s soft side inspired a toy manufacturer to come up with a line of stuffed bear toys.
Teddy bears – you’ve surely heard of them.
John F. Kennedy
Now mostly known for being shot, Kennedy was another tough act. The man was rejected from army service on account of his bad back. So he had his dad pull a few strings and joined the navy, where he rose to be a lieutenant.
During the second World war, Kennedy was serving as skipper of the PT-109, a torpedo boat. In the August of 1943, the Japanese destroyer Amagiri blew it apart. Kennedy swam for four hours to safety through the flame-engulfed wreck and towed an injured crew member by the life jacket held with his teeth! All despite his chronic back pain.
A meeting with Kennedy inspired young Bill to aim for the Oval Office. In high school, he excelled as a saxophone player and even earned the first chair in a state band of students. His reason for not sticking to the career? Bill felt he couldn’t be as good as John Coltrane.
He is also a two-time Grammy winner. In 2004, he won for narrating Prokofiev’s Peter and the wolf in an album Wolf Tracks by the Russian National Orchestra. The next year, he won a Grammy for a reading of My Life, his autobiography.
And finally, the newest addition to the list of interesting Presidents is
Clinton isn’t the only Grammy-winning President. Barack Obama won the same Best Spoken Word award in 2006 and 2008 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009.
For years, the epitome of the African American struggle was to be the first black President. Many saw the dream. This guy went and did it.
Obama and Raul Castro came together to restore diplomatic ties between US and Cuba after 60 years of tension. He was a key player in the legalization of same-sex marriage in the States and the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (D.A.D.T.) that restored the rights of LGBT members in the armed forces.
The incumbent President has a flair to his character that secures his place on this list. Still not convinced?
Obama has two words for you…