Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

01 Dec 2020, 10:36 a.m.

Potomac Jokes

When my spouse Leonard was young, his mother told him a joke about President Richard Nixon:

Nixon fell into the Potomac River and was in danger of drowning. A local kid jumped in to save him.

Nixon, grateful, said, "Is there anything I can do for you? A tour of the White House? An official commendation?"

The kid said: "When I die, can you make sure I get buried in Arlington National Cemetery?"

Nixon said: "I think so, but why is that on your mind? You have your whole life ahead of you!"

The kid replied: "But when my mom find out I saved you, she's gonna kill me!"

This is a great joke but it is not specific enough for my taste; it is a joke template into which you could insert the name of any particularly hated President. As a comedian I find it enticingly inadequate to my desires.

Our household owns a copy of a decades-old edition of Scholastic's 101 President Jokes For Kids. I went through it a few days ago and found perhaps 3 Potomac jokes, none of which were particularly funny or felt President-specific.

I do not have time for another project* but it would be neat to try to write a bespoke Potomac joke for each US President. Gerald Ford tripping, fallling into the Potomac, and dealing with a mermaid who's angry at him about the Nixon pardon. Millard Fillmore trying to use the Union Wagon as some sort of amphibious vehicle. I've already come up with one FDR joke and two Biden jokes. Ask me about them if we're chatting. Or share a joke in the comments. Child-friendly, please!

* but I may do it anyway


02 Dec 2020, 18:04 p.m.

President Washington, taking his Morning Constitutional, accident'ly tumbl'd into the Delaware River (the Federal District being not yet compleat), and seem'd likely to drown. Happily, a Farmer, from the Western Regions of the state, was nearby, and observed this Occurrence. The Farmer div'd into the River, and dragg'd the President to the Shore.

"For this," cried the President, "you shall have not only my own Thanks, but that of the whole Nation, for having to endure the Death of the Chief Executive so early in the Life of this young Republick would surely tax the Nation's Spirits!"

"It would suffice," replied the Farmer, "for you to merely stop taxing our Spirits!"

Sumana Harihareswara
02 Dec 2020, 18:38 p.m.

Avram, I LOVE THIS. I particularly love it because it reminds me of Leonard's song "Whiskey Rebellion Activity Zone".