George Washington, We Hardly Knew Ye | NBC New York

George Washington, We Hardly Knew Ye

It's all been downhill since our first, best president

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    The fellow in the portrait on the left taught us that anyone can be president. The guy on the right taught us that not everyone should.

    Here are a few exciting facts about George Washington, whom certain history buffs will recall was our first president: he was a million feet tall, he had no natural teeth, and by the end of his he life had physically wasted away to the point that his body consisted of nothing more than a head balanced atop a pair of shoulders, as represented in Gilbert Stuart's famously accurate portrait.

    Washington was not a huge fan of pomp and ceremony, which was why he insisted on being addressed as "Mr. President" rather than anything more elaborate. We can also see from the miniseries "John Adams," an interminable series of television shows about his bitter homunculus of a successor, that Washington spent most of his time in government leaning forward from the waist in a dignified fashion and saying nothing. He initiated the custom of retiring from the presidency after two terms, a tradition that lasted until Franklin Delano Roosevelt trashed it.

    In years past, Americans would have celebrated Washington's birthday in the manner our Founding Father intended: by enjoying steep discounts on cars and appliances. However, this year is a little different. We have no money to buy cars; the automakers are all bankrupt and unable to produce cars anyway; and household appliances generally require electricity to run, a luxury that few of us can afford any longer.

    So this Presidents' Day, let us all be thankful that George Washington isn't around to see what a wreck we've made of things, with our foreign entanglements and monstrous national debt. We have yet to even come up with a workable, market-ready jet pack for consumers. No wonder that face on the dollar bill looks so sad.

    The Revolutionary War historian and author of Gilbert Stuart fan fiction Sara K. Smith writes for NBC and Wonkette.