7 Little-Known (And Completely Unverified) Facts About U.S. Presidents
Today, the nation celebrates Presidents' Day, the most important holiday of all time. No other national holiday has such a clear purpose or overall popularity. Therefore, why not recognize this momentous occasion with a look back at some of our greatest presidents, and learn some facets of their biographies that you may not have been taught in school.
7. Franklin Pierce (1853-57)
Pierce was the only president who admitted suffering from a crippling fear of bare feet -- his own as well as others'. His podophobia was so severe that he would wear boots while bathing. He once accidentally walked into Vice President William R. King's office while King was clipping his toenails and had to be hospitalized immediately; he was shocked into silence for two full months and had to communicate solely through writing.
6. Chester A. Arthur (1881-85)
A lover of practical jokes, Arthur invented what is considered the prototype of the whoopee cushion, which he would surreptitiously sneak into the halls of Congress and place on an unsuspecting senator's chair prior to a particularly important vote. Arthur would wait at the back of the chambers for the crude eruption, to which he would invariably shout, "The Speaker recognizes the distinguished gentleman from Fartadelphia!"
5. James Monroe (1817-25)
Monroe's compulsive masturbation regularly made him late for cabinet meetings, and even though it was something of an open secret, he would inevitably come prepared with an excuse. Cabinet members rarely, if ever, shook his hand.
4. Richard Nixon (1969-74)
Struggling with the mounting loss of lives in Vietnam, Nixon was the first president to consider using a non-human army. He tasked the Rand Corporation with completing a cost-benefit analysis of training and arming a single platoon of rhesus monkeys, which would then be airdropped into Phuoc Tuy Province to assist human infantrymen engaged in the Battle of Binh Ba. Although the monkeys performed particularly well during combat simulation at Parris Island, "Banana Company" met a gruesome fate when the human colonel overseeing their drop from the A-37 Dragonfly realized too late that no one taught the monkeys how to open their parachutes.