Our Wild and Crazy U.S. Presidents

Neatorama presents a guest post from actor, comedian, and voiceover artist Eddie Deezen. Visit Eddie at his website.

[Ed. note: With less than a week to go before a presidential election, maybe we could use a reminder that United States presidents are people, too, and often far from perfect -or even presidential.]

Zachary Taylor would spit tobacco juice on the White House rugs if a spitoon wasn't in spitting distance.

Teddy Roosevelt owned and could walk on stilts.

Herbert Hoover did not like to set his eyes on the White House servants- ever. Whenever he or the First Lady appeared anywhere where a servant was present, he or she would run into a closet and remain there until the coast was clear. Groundskeepers had to hide behind bushes. These people lived with the fear of being fired if Hoover caught a glimpse of one of them.

A student protester once gave Richard Nixon the finger. Nixon gave one back to him.

Andrew Jackson had a bullet painfully lodged next to his heart from 1806 until his death in 1845. He had been shot in the chest during a duel with Charles Dickinson, who had insulted Jackson's wife. Jackson sometimes coughed up blood and, to alleviate the pain from the bullet, he would on occasion slit open his own veins with a pocketknife and "bleed" himself.

John Adams didn't like his white servants "playing cards with Negroes."

After his presidency, Harry and Bess Truman moved in with her mother. His mother-in-law, who believed -and stated frequently- that Harry had never amounted to anything, also lived in the White House when he was president.

Ronald Reagan was rejected for the movie The Best Man. The role he got turned down for was the president of the United States. They said he didn't look like a president.

We might have voted for Henry Fonda in 1964.

Grover Cleveland once avoided military service by paying a Polish immigrant $1500 to take his place.

When Thomas Jefferson was forty-three, he crippled his right hand jumping over a fence while out strolling with the married twenty-seven-year-old Maria Cosway, with whom he was having an affair.

Calvin Coolidge had two pet lions as president. He also owned a pet raccoon. He would put a leash on it and walk the White House grounds. Coolidge also had a pet pygmy hippopotamus. His name was "Billy."

First Lady Grace Coolidge with Rebecca the Raccoon.

When George H.W. Bush moved his family to Odessa, Texas, in 1948, his apartment neighbors were prostitutes, specifically a mother-daughter team with whom the Bushes had to share a bathroom.

James Buchanan was nearsighted in one eye and farsighted in the other. To compensate for this visual weakness, he would constantly open and close one eye at a time, depending on whether he needed to see close or far. He would also cock his head on an angle to compensate for his strange ocular condition.

Every Valentine's day, Dwight Eisenhower wore what he and his wife, Mamie, called his "love bug" boxer shorts. They were embroidered with red hearts.

Although a famed military general, the sight of blood made Ulysses Grant nauseous.

Lyndon Johnson was very well-endowed and was not averse to proudly proving it now and then, often displaying his manhood to unsuspecting female journalists.

See also: Those Wacky U.S. Presidents.

(Image manipulation via Superlame)


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