The Billy Possum

Taft: America’s “Greatest” and Perhaps Most Reluctant US President

“Don’t sit up nights thinking about making me president for that will never come and I have no ambition in that direction. Any party which would nominate me would make a great mistake.”  — William Howard Taft

“The truth is that in my present life I don’t remember that I ever was president”  — William Howard Taft

All he wanted to do was work for the Supreme Court, but the infamous Teddy Bear and William’s ambitious wife talked him into it; and behold, he was not only the POTUS, he was also the first presidential golfer, the first presidential motorist, the only guy to be both US president and chief justice – and most of all: the greatest in girth, volume, and weight.

“It’s very difficult for me to understand how a man who is so good as chief justice… could have been so bad as president.”   ― Justice Louis Dembitz Brandeis

I think republicans are awesome. I feel the same way about democrats. I also think they both suck donkey dicks (and elephant dicks, based on your vantage point). I do admit though, that republicans over a hundred years ago had a special kind of awesome, and they smelled a lot like liberals too. Just look at the northern states Taft won. It looks like a current red and blue state map, but turned upside down! Hefty conservation efforts and meddling in the affairs of corporate monsters were just some of the things that red-voting people did in those days. In fact, Billy actually did a lot to undermine the efforts of monopolists while reserving a lot of National Forest stuff. Even though Taft was Roosevelt’s War-Guy, he was quite anti-war, and he had liberal views of the bible. He also had a habit of falling asleep during work hours. I bet he snored really loudly too. That would have been epic. Reminds me of a big old pastor I used to hang out with in Alaska, and he’d doze off in the living room when there’d be a loud holiday gathering or something.

“I’ll be damned if I am not getting tired of this. It seems to be the profession of a President simply to hear other people talk. ”  ― William Howard Taft

I never really heard the name Taft until my thirties. I didn’t study the presidents in school. We were too cool for that sort of thing. I also don’t like politics, nor do I even understand much about how the United States Government works. I have as much of a mental block with politics like your grandpa does with computers. I also don’t understand social skills, following recipes, or rap music. Anyway, when I lived in the Greater Cincinnati area after Straight Camp, I noticed that every other thing was named “Taft”. (Funny that as I’m writing this, earlier today when doing Taft related research, google led me to a Taft Middle School in nearby Cedar Rapids, where I am currently staying.) It wasn’t until my forties when browsing sexy daddy bears on Tumblr that a few guys were posting pictures of William Howard Taft, and I was enamored. Until today, I admit, I really didn’t know much about him except the tater story and the tub story. In fact, I wanted to do the Billy Possum thing even before I wanted to do the Fake President thing.

“Politics, when I am in it, it makes me sick.”   ― William Howard Taft

Sounds like a cynical, big, old, grandpa who doesn’t really give a shit and was making a mockery of the super-sacred office of the president. Personally, I’d say that’s more the case with our current president; and ironically, Trump really wants to do this job. Taft seemed to reluctantly run, win, and keep that job; and compared to other presidents, actually didn’t do too horribly. In fact, I won’t be surprised if Billy Taft will be remembered as America’s Most Mediocre President. To make things even more funny, he ran a second term. My theory is: to prove to everyone that originally pushed him into the White House, Mr. Taft ran again to show how unwanted he really was as a president.

“I think I might as well give up being a candidate. There are so many people in the country who don’t like me.”   ― William Howard Taft

“Well, I have one consolation. No candidate was ever elected ex-president by such a large majority!”  ― William Howard Taft

“I am glad to be going. This is the lonesomest place in the world?”  — William Howard Taft

In 1910, the United States was heading into an era of skinny floppers, tight bathing suits, and early wellness crazes. A generation or so earlier had a lot of guys that admired plus sized women in the later part of the nineteenth century; but chubby men were not only rare in those days, there was a lot of fat shaming back then. I get a lot of that theory from a bunch of the drawings and stuff that was being propagated around that time. In addition to cartoon strips and other mass media imagery, there were numerous postcards, buttons, and even collector’s cigarette cards that bore the Taft-inspired slogan: “nobody loves a fat man”. These kinds of men were considered gluttons, gross, and often portrayed as sloppy, stupid, unwanted, lazy, and irresponsible. In addition to all that, for centuries, fluffy guys were seen as greedy and overly powerful tyrannical rulers who not only had an appetite for goodies, but for cruelty.

Henry the Eighth was not only big in being a control freak, apparently he was also big on fucking, among other things. Although history might tell us that fat men are just “good fun” but not good in bed, according to Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull in 1969 (I have experience that fat men can be often no fun, and very good in the night time!) however, much of the early part of the twentieth century portrays my beloved guys of girth as either the bully Bluto types, or the flakey Wimpy types. Mr. Taft may have not fit these stereotypes, yet they still mocked him.

The western diet was very different back then, and people generally got more exercise before cars and robots did so much for us these days; in addition to the fact that Little Debbie and the Golden Arches did not exist back then. William was known to talk about donuts, bread, and potatoes, but I don’t have room for those quotes. He did at one time lose seventy pounds when his wife urged him to do a low-carb diet. Turns out Mr. Atkins ain’t so original at all! Nellie Taft somehow figured that out a long time ago.

Anyone who knows me, understands perfectly that I sincerely adore big old men. They are my “hot chicks”. (Just look at my former boyfriends.) In fact, I look at Mr. Taft every day. I happened to order a large laminated Taft poster from Scamazon. It’s like my pin-up girl. In case you’re wondering, I’m not the only queer to have a santa-fetish. Seriously, I think Taft is one of the handsomest men in history. He’s cuddly, sexy, and good looking as well, and dressed kinda like a hipster. He also resembles a rag-doll cat, and a walrus with a bearish figure. Who doesn’t like them critters? A fellow fan I met online would be into trading sexy Taft pictures and stuff like that. Yeah, there’s definitely someone for everyone. I have an appetite for men with an appetite (or a thyroid problem).

Speaking of appetites, this whole thang is supposed to be about Possum Billy, another one of my scams to restore lost pieces of American culture, history, and politics. Here’s some of the background: Teddy Roosevelt was on an unsuccessful bear hunt and refused to shoot a bear that was tied up for him (which he thought was “un-sportsman” like). Thus, the Teddy Bear was born. Toy makers followed up with a new toy for a new president based on a similar story. At that time, President Elect Taft asked for one of his appellation favorites while at a Georgia banquet, “possum and taters”. Some say it was an eighteen pound opossum and plenty of sweet potatoes. Apparently, he ate a lot of possums. I hear they’re greasy.

By the end of that year, nobody seemed to want a Billy Possum for Christmas, and the plush toy was an epic flop (and I have a funny feeling that people are still buying teddy bears). As much as I love a soft plush opossum toy, the funny banquet story, and my fluffy beloved president; it’s no wonder why that toy failed. People hated President Taft, and they hate possums! They smell like they’re dead when you find them, they are grey like rats, have buggy eyes, scary teeth, and are a nuisance when you have a crawlspace full of them (I say this as a former homeowner). They can be really gross. One of them had unspeakable stuff coming out of its nose, and they stunk up my van for days when I had to take two trips to drive them to the woods. Or, could it be that the Teddy story is about Roosevelt sparing the life of a sad, scared, trapped bear; while Billy ATE his mascot?

We don’t even know for sure whether President Taft was even stuck in the White House bathtub or not! Did it really take all that butter to get him out? I am not sure, but one thing I know, is that Possum Billy is a lost treasure of our Great Nation; and as one of my many vain attempts to Keep America Fake, I’d love to get one of these hideous little plush wonders into your greedy little hands. When I am ready to mass-produce the New Billy Possum, I intend to include not only a certificate of authenticity – I plan on also sending a certificate that authenticates the certificate of authenticity just so you can rest assured that your opossum is not only authentic, but the certificate is also not a fake; because after all, I am about as real as the Franklin Mint is to making coins. I just have to have my people in the States talk to my people in China who are fabricating them in a ginormous sweat shop. (Certificates printed in Canada, of course.)

“The trouble with me is that I like to talk too much.”  — William Howard Taft

Mr. President and Chief Justice William Howard Taft, golly I love you; and I agree and can relate: I like to talk too much as well.

-Fake Zappa

September 16, 2020 – Lazy Acres RV Park, Center Point, Iowa

September 21, 2020 – Rustic Acres Campground, New Douglas, Illinois*

For additional lite reading:

William Howard Taft

*Until this month, I’ve never stayed anywhere called [something] Acres, and these two locations just happened to be strictly coincidental