It appears it is THAT time again. The Inauguration of a new President. Of the United States.
To inaugurate. What is THAT exactly? Well, the word is a verb, which means to admit someone….. quite formally…. to a public office. Ca-Ching. You are formally admitted.
You were NOT President. Presto. Change-o. Now you ARE President.
There have been 57 formal presidential inaugural ceremonies held since 1789. Trump’s will be 58. And since we are crunching numbers…. here is another. the number of times the U.S. president has taken the oath of office is 69. I am not sure what the total buffer of 11 indicated…. as only 8 presidents have died in office.
We all know the Harrison Story about the Inauguration. The moral of his story is: Be Brief. You see…. William Henry Harrison’s inaugural address was in 1841, on a very cold, and very snowy day. He gave the longest speech on record…. which… IF anyone was counting….. turned out to be 8,445 words.
Harrison died one month after his inauguration, possibly from prolonged exposure to bad weather during his swearing-in. Pneumonia. Ah-Choo.
On the flip side of that was the Father of our country. None other than George “The Cherry-Tree Hater” Washington. (Everyone has a dark side, I guess.) At any rate, his address was the shortest. Just 135 words… during his second inaugural address.
But back to the morbidity of it all. I mentioned that 8 presidents died in office.
And here is the dry list.
• William Henry Harrison, 9th president (1841), died April 4, 1841 from pneumonia.
• Zachary Taylor, 12th president (1849-50), died July 9, 1850 from food poisoning.
• Warren G. Harding, 29th president (1921-23), died August 2, 1923 from either a heart attack or a stroke depending on the source. Harding’s wife refused to allow an autopsy to be performed.
• Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd president (1933-45), died April 12, 1945 from a cerebral hemorrhage.
• Abraham Lincoln, 16th president (1861-65), died April 15, 1865 by assassination.
• James Abram Garfield, 20th president (1881), died September 19, 1881 from blood poisoning resulting from doctors probing for an assassin’s bullet with non-sterile instruments.
• William McKinley, 25th president (1897-1901), died September 14, 1901 by assassination.
• John F. Kennedy, 35th president (1961-63), died November 22, 1963 by assassination.
There is no apparent connection between the length of the Inaugural Address and successful assassination attempts. I tried to make a correlation, but the words per address range from 700 (Lincoln) to 2979 (Garfield). So nadda. “Longwinded” or “to the point” was clearly NOT the cause for a gunman’s fervor. It may have to do more with ties, ascots, and bolos. Regardless.
These days… we have another batch of swearing to be conducted up on the podium stand. To attend the ceremony is free. But if you want to have a ball at the Ball… it is going to cost you. The tickets to the big event are big dollars indeed.
The official price is just $60… IF you were one of the select few to get a pass. Then the reality sets in. Some tickets for this year’s inaugural ball are being scalped for as much as $12,500 a pop. All I have to say is… they better have those little cocktail weenies in a blanket.
Either way…. I’m not so interested in going, at any price. Not because I can’t dance. In fact… I can. But I think I’d rather read about it the next day.
And then what happens? The next President begins. And from there, we shall see what we shall see.
“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
― Shel Silverstein
“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
“There is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers