Presidential Material


Lately, I’ve spent a lot of time reading and writing about Mark Twain (ie, Seriously Funny People, 3/15/18, and Mark Twain: Humor and Wisdom, 3/28/18). He had great hair, including a mustache. I’ve pictured him in both articles. It made me wonder: Is it OK for a President to have facial hair (ie, a beard or mustache)? Lincoln and Grant did. But William Howard Taft (1909-1913), with a mustache, was the last Oval Office holder not to be clean-shaven. In fact, early in the 20th century, it was thought by some people that facial hair could be a cause of tuberculosis. Thus (perhaps), “the clean-shaven look” became a symbol of the modern man’s ideal and the required appearance for all future Presidents. Forget about George Armstrong Custer’s visage. (see below). Remember the countenance of the New Deal maker (FDR) and the New Frontier designer (JFK)? More recently, did Obama and The Donald shave? Of course they did. And what about other famous, handsome men in the public eye? I’m thinking of Matt Damon, George Clooney (most of the time), Denzel Washington, Tom Hanks (unless he’s stranded on a deserted island), Ryan Gosling. Enough said. It appears voters require no 5 o’clock shadow, and a total avoidance of an even hairier look, on their Oval Office Occupiers.



Wait! Did someone just say: John Bolton!! (see below) Granted, he may soon work NEAR the Oval Office, but not in it, right?



OK, think about it. Could there be an exception? Could there ever be hair, there?! See if you can match the following list of men with their pictures beneath them. Would any of them be (have been) Presidential Material?

Chuck Berry … Albert Einstein … Sam Elliot … Samuel L. Jackson … Martin Luther King, Jr… Freddy Mercury … Brad Pitt … Tom Selleck




About rcarmean

Two things... First, why have I decided to establish this blog? I like to put essays together. I research an idea or topic looking for information, statistics, stories, quotes, pictures, etc. I enjoy the process and seeing a finished product. I’m told that as I get older, new activities can help maintain energy and keep my brain alert. In other words, I am not doing this for money or fame. Second, regarding the gentleman in the collage of pictures's not me. Those are photos of Christy Mathewson. Why him? When I was young, my primary activity was being sick. It took up much of my time. Eczema (a case so bad I was written up in a medical journal showing doctors what their patients COULD look like), asthma, and allergies. You know allergies: don’t eat this, don’t wear that, and, for Heaven’s sake, don’t touch any of these things (eg, dogs, cats, horses --I only saw horses in cowboy movies and TV shows, dust, swimming pools, my brother --OK, that’s an exaggeration, Rick was a fine brother). In my spare time between doctors' appointments, pills, and ointments, baseball kept me sane. In the 1940s and 1950s, when I grew up, pro footballI and basketball had not yet become extremely popular. Baseball truly was “the national pastime.” I listened to games on the radio (remember it? TV without the picture). I read magazines, books, and newspaper accounts of games. I collected baseball cards. I learned about the game’s history, as well as present. The same with its stars. One man stood out: Christy Mathewson. He was a great pitcher for the New York Giants in the early 20th century. But there was much more to him. At a time when professional athletes made little money (yes, there was such a time) and ball players were considered on the same level as actors, artists, and prostitutes, Mathewson stood out. One of his nicknames was: “The Christian Gentleman.” Most men is baseball drank, smoked, cursed, and fought —with other players, umpires, and fans. The fights were physical, not just verbal. Mathewson did none of these things. But he earned the respect of other players who did them all. Even Ty Cobb and John McGraw. There’s more. He was a college graduate (Bucknell University) when most men were lucky to have a high school diploma. He played other sports, including pro football which you wouldn’t recognize. He was handsome. He played in New York City, then as now, the largest city in the country. Excellence and popularity there meant fame and money. He dressed well. Today, his commercials would rival LeBron’s. And, finally, a hero’s life must have tragedy. After his playing career ended, WWI arrived. He suffered from influenza and was exposed to mustard gas. Chemical warfare. His lungs were damaged and he required treatment for the rest of his life. (Like my Grandfather who also fought in The Great War.) He died in 1925. He was 45 years old. I have his picture here because you need to know more about him than me. He was what an athlete could be. Players like him and their accomplishments got me through a sickly, painful childhood and can still sustain me in difficult times. *****
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