Don’t Make ’em Like They Used To

In the last week, the politically-minded fitness world has been abuzz with the theory of exercise that Donald Trump shared in a recent New Yorker feature:

There has been considerable speculation about Trump’s physical and mental health, in part because few facts are known. During the campaign, his staff reported that he was six feet three inches tall and weighed two hundred and thirty-six pounds, which is considered overweight but not obese. Trump himself says that he is “not a big sleeper” (“I like three hours, four hours”) and professes a fondness for steak and McDonald’s. Other than golf, he considers exercise misguided, arguing that a person, like a battery, is born with a finite amount of energy.

Like many of Trump’s science-minded proclamations, this one is mind-bogglingly stupid. And it reinforces my long-held belief that massive heart-attack is the likeliest way for 45 to serve out less than a full first term.

But what really caught my eye was a piece about the quote in GQ, which ran through the exercise habits of recent presidents past: Obamas pick-up basketball games, W’s “100 Degree Club” (waiting until the temperature hit 100° before heading for stacks of 7:00 miles), Clinton’s pokier lopes in 90’s jogging suits.

The real kicker, however, is a reference to an episode I think I knew about obliquely, but had largely forgotten:

On the campaign trail in 1912, Teddy Roosevelt stopped in Wisconsin for a campaign rally. There, a crazed assassin (who later claimed to have been egged on by the ghost of William McKinley) sprung from the crowd, and shot Roosevelt in the chest at point-blank range.

The bullet, however, simply got stuck in Roosevelt’s pec muscle. Though doctors wanted to bring him immediately to the hospital, Roosevelt explained that he was not mortally wounded, and would go ahead with the speech. Blood still dripping from the wound, Roosevelt told the gaping crowd, “I have just been shot, but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose!”

So, in short, Donald is definitely being a wuss. And Teddy Roosevelt, who I also think of whenever I visit New York’s American Natural History Museum, full of taxidermied fauna he gunned down on hunting trips during his spare time, is undoubtedly the original Most Interesting Man in the World.

May 18, 2017