So it turns out that my hyperthymic personality is a family trait passed through the Kennedy’s bloodline, and yes, I do mean John-John and Jackie O. They’d be cousin’s of mine. Yes, I’m steeped in ironic political blood as it were, the irony being that I was raised politically neutral as the child of two hippies turned Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Meanwhile, cousin and First Lady Rosalynn Smith Carter was named “The Steel Magnolia” by the White House press corp for her Southern sweetness and tenacity, and cousin “Lemonade” Lucy Ware Webb Hayes convinced her husband, President Rutherford B. Hayes, to fight in the Union army and to oppose slavery. He later became an influential part of the abolitionist cause. Martha Jefferson was never officially named first lady, but Helen Herron Taft was known for her White House silver anniversary party. Yes, we do love to party! There was also First Lady Hoover, and Mary Scott Harrison McKee who served as first lady for her father after her momma passed away.
I’m also related to a few good Presidents: William Henry Harrison (1773-1841), 9th President of the United States of America, is famous for having the longest inauguration speech (maybe that’s where I got my bad habit of leaving long voicemails?) and shortest term of any president. He was the first president to die in office; he died of pneumonia only 30 days into his term. Andrew Johnson (1808-1875), the 17th President of the United States of America, after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, Vice-President Andrew Johnson assumed the Presidency. Johnson was the first president to be impeached, but was acquitted of the charges. Benjamin Harrison (1833-1901), 23rd President of the United States of America and Grandson of President William Henry Harrison, was the 23 President of the United States. During his term 6 states joined the United States and the Sherman Antitrust Act, an act which prohibited monopolies, was passed.
Then there are a slew of outlaws… John Wesley Hardin was an outlaw and gunfighter in Texas. He was reported to be the meanest man alive, once killing a man just for snoring. Most of his gunplay was a result of his short temper. Bob Dylan wrote an entire album about him. Sam Bass robbed the Union pacific gold train and took $60,000, the largest robbery of the Union Pacific to date. John Peters “Johnny” Ringo became a legend of the Old West because of his alleged involvement in the gunfight at the OK Corral and his association with the Clanton Gang. Finally, American bank robber and alleged murderer, Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd robbed so many banks in the 1930s that there was a $56,000 reward on his head.
On the geek side, Linus Pauling was an American chemist, famous for his work in applying quantum mechanics to chemistry and his campaign against above-ground nuclear testing. For his work in both of these fields he was awarded two Nobel Peace Prizes. John Browning was a firearms designer who developed a variety of weapons, cartridges, and gun mechanics. Not many people took Frank Whittle seriously when he introduced his plans to create a jet engine. As an officer in the Royal Air Force, he helped to change the face of military tactics. English inventor and engineer George Stephenson invented the steam operated locomotive. He is also called “The Father of Railways”, and the railway gauge called “The Stephenson Gauge” is named for him. William Osler has been called one of the greatest icons of modern medicine—the Father of Modern Medicine.
Personally, I’m more fond of the artists and designers in my family. Cary Grant was named the second Greatest Male Star of All Time by the American Film Institute (on the 50 Greatest American Screen Legends list Cary is #2, Lillian is #17). Lillian Diana de Guiche, or Lillian Gish, is known as the “first lady of the silent screen” and starred in many silent films including The Birth of a Nation and The Scarlet Letter. Her career spanned over 75 years and countless television and film appearances. George Eastman founded the Eastman Kodak Co. and invented roll film. His invention was also a precursor for motion picture film. Edward Hopper was an American painter best remembered for his eerily realistic depictions of solitude in contemporary American life. A true clown like my grandfather, General Tom Thumb (born Charles Stratton) was taught to sing, dance, and act by circus pioneer P.T. Barnum. His small frame and many talents made him famous around the world. And last but not least in my book, I’m still struggling to find my own with good ol’ William Cuthbert Faulkner and his long, winding sentences in the Sound and the Fury, and As I Lay Dying.
Me? I just fancy myself a cognitive scientist in the style of Leonardo DaVinci, and find my peace at the seaside, like most of my infamous relatives. I happen to be a corporation in Delaware, a proud homage to my great great (really really great) grandfather George Read, who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence from Delaware, and was highly involved in the politics of the early United States. He served as a delegate to the U.S. Constitutional Convention, was a Continental Congressman, and later was Delaware’s representative in the U.S. Senate.
The last year of my life has been an interesting one. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, spurred on by a deep hatred for the American culture from business to politics and mass media. I was raised, as it were, in corporate America—the banker’s daughter in the shadow of Hugh McColl, and the geek’s niece (warning! hilarious video with Napoleon Dynamite) on Uncle Bill’s campus. I made a stop over in Texas working for Travelocity, and finished up my corporate stint reporting up to the C-level’s at Yahoo! (Hi, Sturino!) I’ve made men a lot of money, though I haven’t got much in the bank for myself.
I’ve been thinking about what I want to do going forward. All this education, albiet slightly left of norm, and experience…
One of my many lover’s recently told me that a quote by Bobby Kennedy (paraphrasing George Bernard Shaw) will always remind him of me.
“You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not?’“
Thank you, Johnny, I’m honored.
So, I thought of being President. Why not?