So, you are feeling stupid at a cocktail party and need something to talk about to make you look smart. You can be a real dork and talk about assassinated presidents and then they will slowly walk away and you won’t have to worry about participating in any conversation. Being then left alone with your thoughts you may continue.
He was James A. Garfield, in office for only four months when he was shot in 1881. Yet, he was one of the most extraordinary presidents we have ever had. He was brilliant. Born into incredible poverty in a log cabin, his father died before he was 2 years old. He was a janitor and a carpenter and saved the money to put himself through college. By his second year in college they made him an assistant professor of literature and ancient languages.
By the time he was 26 years old, he became the college president. Completely astonishing. There is a recent book written about the life of this president called , A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President ,Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard. The saddest part of this true story in American History that no one even knows anymore is that this brilliant guy did not have to die. If born in later years, safeguards in medicine would have healed his wounds.
The assassin was Charles Guiteau who was known to be a drifter who had failed at everything he ever did in life. He tried law, evangelism even a free love commune in the 1800’s. His nickname was Charles Get Out so many people got disgusted with him. Day after day he would wait on line wanting to be The Minister to France and was never chosen for the job. Then, in his disillusionment he decides that he has a divine message from God that he needed to kill the president.
Hence, this brilliant man dies from his germ infested body and isn’t president long enough to even be remembered. But I will remember him and I don’t even mind being the geek thinking about this kind of stuff and not being in the main conversation about nothing at a party. Yes, a history lesson folks. Duh!