President’s Day Words of Wisdom

Happy President’s Day!  (Now how come we don’t have a Congressmen Day holiday too?  It’d sure help the public approval ratings of that side of government.)  I sincerely hope you are lucky enough to have today off from work, so that you have sufficient time to shop the mattress sales that make our nation the greatest on earth.

If you thought that President George W. Bush was the most barbecue-friendly George ever to hold the highest office in the land–what with his Texas ranch and all–you’d be wrong.  Of course, that George W. was a member of the northeastern elite and came to embrace his down home Texas side fairly late in life.  The original George W., on the other hand, was a serious ‘cue hound.  That’s right, there are various accounts of barbecues hosted and attended by our first president, George Washington.  In fact, with all the pork Washington ate it’s a miracle his canoe didn’t sink while crossing the Potomac.

When Washington was a mere lad–before he turned 16 and at least a few months before he bought his first set of wooden teeth–he transcribed a short document called “Rules of Civility &  Decent Behaviour In Company and Conversation.”  These rules contain many timeless bits of wisdom, such as:

  • “When in Company, put not your Hands to any Part of the Body, not usualy  Discovered.” [Modern translation: don’t scratch your nuts in public.]
  • “Shift not yourself in the Sight of others nor Gnaw your nails.” [Modern translation: Uh, don’t shift your weight around or chew your nails?]
  • “Kill no Vermin as Fleas, lice ticks &c in the Sight of Others, if you  See any filth or thick Spittle put your foot Dexteriously upon it if it be upon  the Cloths of your Companions, Put it off privately, and if it be upon your own  Cloths return Thanks to him who puts it off.” [Modern translation: If you still have this problem in the 21st century, good luck getting a date.]
  • “In visiting the Sick, do not Presently play the Physicion if you be not  Knowing therein.” [Modern translation: Keep your prescription meds to yourself.]
  • And, notably for us at, “Put not another bit into your Mouth til the former be Swallowed let not your Morsels be too big for the Gowls.”  [Modern translation: Don’t choke to death while stuffing your face like a pig.]

There are many more words of wisdom from GW available in this document, so check it out by following this link.  Thanks to my colleague, Mr. “Outside” Brown, for making me aware of this terrific booklet.

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