Friday, December 8, 2017

Best President Ever

GUIDE: Attention, Ladies and Gentlemen!  If you are holding blue tickets, you are part of the 4:00pm tour.  Please gather your belongings and follow me into the exhibit hall.

MAN 1:  Excuse me, what if my tickets are red?

GUIDE:  Then YOU are not my problem.  Have a great day.

Our Guide walks into an exhibit hall with his group of about a dozen visitors.

GUIDE:  OK, let’s stop here.  Welcome to the Presidents Hall Of Fame.

LITTLE BOY: Isn’t that in Disney World?

GUIDE:  That’s the Hall Of Presidents, kid.  It’s in the pamphlet.  Just read the pamphlet.

LITTLE BOY:  I can’t read.

GUIDE:  Then you’re probably too young to even be on this tour.  Guard?

A GUARD steps in from the shadows and escorts the little boy and his family from the exhibit hall.

GUIDE:  Now where was I?  Right.  Hall Of Fame.  So this place is dedicated to the greatest presidents our country has ever seen. 

WOMAN 1:  As decided by who?

GUIDE:  Our rankings are a combination of opinion polls and rankings by nearly 100 of our nation’s foremost presidential historians from all sides of the political spectrum.  (TO WOMAN 1)  And it’s “whom” – “as decided by whom?”  Guard?

A different GUARD appears from nowhere and takes WOMAN 1 and her HUSBAND from the exhibit hall under protest.

GUIDE:  Now we all know that some presidents just had the benefit of good timing.  Maybe they took office during a time of peace and relative prosperity and all they had to do was not screw it up to look good.

MOTHER 1:  Please sir, language!  There are children present.

GUIDE:  My deepest apologies, madam.

With a side nod of his head, he summons a new GUARD who quietly separates MOTHER 1 and her children from the tour group.

GUIDE:  The historians focused on ten qualities to measure the success of presidential leadership.  These were Public Persuasion, Crisis Leadership, Economic Management, Moral Authority, International Relations, Administrative Skills, Relations With Congress, Vision/Setting An Agenda, Pursued Equal Justice For All and Performance Within the Context of his Times.  Exhibits within the hall go into more detail on what each of these attributes entails.

A YOUNG COUPLE starts to move away to the group toward the exhibits.

GUIDE:  Did I say I was done?

Another nod and a GUARD removes the YOUNG COUPLE.

GUIDE:  (TO THE REMAINS OF HIS DWINDLING GROUP) Good things come to those who wait.  Now based on the understanding of how the presidents were rated, who wants to wager a guess as to which presidents made the Top 3?

The group is a bit reluctant to guess given the fate of some of their fellow tourists.

GUIDE:  Come now, I don’t bite.

WISEACRE:  I’m guessing it’s not Millard Fillmore? 

The crowd laughs nervously.

GUIDE:  Good guess.  Our 13th president actually tends to rank in the lowest 10 among all of our presidents.  But I asked who WAS in the Top 3, not who WASN’T.

Another nod and another GUARD.  WISEACRE is toast.

GUIDE:  Any other guesses?

The remaining few stay silent.

GUIDE:  Without fail, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt and George Washington are most often the three highest rated presidents among historians.

Just as GUIDE was finishing, an OLD MAN in the group SNEEZED.

GUIDE:  Gesundheit!

A GUARD moves in for the kill.

OLD MAN:  Oh come on!  It was a sneeze.

He leaves reluctantly

GUIDE:  Generally, regardless of the whether a given historian leans liberal or conservative, the remainder of the Top 10 is often rounded out by Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, Harry S. Truman, Woodrow Wilson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Andrew Jackson and John F. Kennedy. 

GUIDE studies his tiny audience carefully for a reaction.

GUIDE:  Questions?

BOLD GUY:  Where do our more modern presidents rank?

GUIDE:  While the presidential historians don’t tend to rate modern presidents as highly, a few, like Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, tend to top opinion polls of the general electorate.

A GUARD steps in.  BOLD GUY protests.

BOLD GUY:  You asked for questions?

Our GUIDE shrugs. 

GUIDE:  My ball, my rules.

There are only two people left in the tour group.

GUIDE:  Here’s an interesting fact -- William Henry Harrison and James Garfield generally get left off of the rankings.  Does anyone know why?

YOUNG WOMAN:  Because they died in office?

GUIDE:  Mostly correct.  Harrison died after only 30 days in office and Garfield after only 200 days.  Zachary Taylor died after only serving 16 months but he is usually included in most rankings.

A GUARD appears behind the YOUNG WOMAN and her FRIEND.  YOUNG WOMAN is resigned to her fate but looks to GUIDE questioningly.

GUIDE:  You were only mostly correct.  It wasn’t the dying in office that mattered so much as how short their tenure was.  After all, besides for Garfield, each of Lincoln, McKinley and Kennedy were assassinated while in office but they always make the rankings.

YOUNG WOMAN buys this and starts to go.

GUIDE:  Wait!  What's your name?

YOUNG WOMAN:  Stacey.  Why?

GUIDE:  Your the last one left!  That means you win!

STACEY:  I win?!?

GUIDE:  You're the last person standing.  You win this entire museum!  You can live here for the rest of your life!

STACEY:  Really?!?!

GUIDE:  Don't be stupid.  Of course not.  Buh-bye, now!

STACEY and her FRIEND are escorted out.

GUIDE smiles at the empty room.  A job well done.  He saunters back to the waiting area.

GUIDE:  Attention, Ladies and Gentlemen!  If you are holding red tickets, you are part of the 4:30pm tour.  Please gather your belongings....

NOTE:  While the Hall Of Fame (at least as I’ve described it) doesn’t exist, the ranking by historians is real and can be found at,

-- Frosty

No comments:

Post a Comment