Before “Presidents’ Day” was concocted, the February birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington (12th and 22nd respectively) were celebrated separately. That meant TWO days off from school, which in the dead of winter was a most welcome hiatus.
The big joke back then was, “Did you know Abe Lincoln was Jewish? Yeah – he was shot in the temple!” Just as funny today, innit.
Arguably, Lincoln was America’s greatest president, but he was no saint. Saints don’t get to be president. But like many saints, he was a tragic figure who endured crueltyand suffering tossed his way by forces beyond his control, many of them human (technical term: “assholes”).
When I think of Lincoln, for some reason I flash back to this corny 60-second spot for CLEP (College Level Examination Program), where his character’s basic decency and intelligence is simultaneously acknowledged and disparaged as inadequate (“I know you’re a smart guy. You know you’re a smart guy. But without the sheepskin, you ain’t goin’ anywhere….”). Defeated, downcast, dismissed, he departs, despondent.
Too bad there wasn’t Trump University back then.
Happy Birthday, Mister President!