The History Channel was rebroadcasting back-to-back episodes of their program, The Presidents, on Sunday, and I sat in my living room, on the couch, and watched nearly all of it. I think I came in around John Quincy Adams and for the rest of the afternoon only got up for lunch and potty breaks. It was a really ridiculous waste of time, but the program was somewhat compelling. It didn’t completely gloss over the warts of the commanders-in-chief, as many programs of this sort do; the production values were good; and the scholars interviewed were actually able to provide some insight into the working lives of these men, humanizing them in a way that I’ve not often seen done.
I remember that Dad used to try to recite the list in order on occasion, and that he always got muddled up somewhere in the mid to late nineteenth century. I tried this same thing with Stephanie, having just watched the damn program, and I couldn’t get further than Thomas Jefferson. I wasn’t sure if Quincy Adams came directly after him or if there was someone in the middle. It was pathetic.