If, like me, you find the following funny, then you’ll probably enjoy the several other “More Apocryphal Stories of the Presidents” by Yoni Brenner in last week’s New Yorker:
On a rainy night in 1793, the Van Buren family ox slipped in the mud, fracturing its foreleg. Realizing that the ox was no longer any good to anyone, Abe Van Buren loaded his flintlock and took aim, when, all of a sudden, his ten-year-old son, Martin, leaped in front of the ox and cried, “If you shoot this ox, Father, you would do as well to shoot me! For this unfortunate beast is no less God’s creation than I.” And so his father shot him. Then he turned to Martin’s identical twin and said, “From now on, you’re Martin.” And that is how Phil Van Buren became President of the United States.