Let’s talk founding fathers. You might steer clear of conversations with such boring undertones, and frankly I don’t blame you. But let me shed some light on the most hilariously social founding father of all time: Benjamin Franklin.
The Benjamin Franklin I have in my mind (from a long history of shunning archaic fat men) is a reticent white man of the continual age of 80. Was Benjamin Franklin ever younger than 80? The answer is, of course, no. And actions speak louder than words in this situation, which may not mean anything to you just yet. But Franklin, whose iconic photo to the left seems rather harmless and portly—I’ll resist calling him beefy since I would never be able to unequate edible animals with Ben—was actually very mischievous and, surprisingly, farcical.
Perhaps the first man to coin the American Dream (the concept, not the term), Old Benny tended to write away his “errata” and leave behind sagacious maps for younger generations of supposedly hearty half-witted ham heads.
Not all of us are deceived by Franklin’s quixotic future. Some of us, like Franklin himself, enjoy sleeping, eating, leisure, and the avoidance of any plans of “imitating Jesus and Socrates.” Yes Ben, I know you’re laughing in your grave at all the imbecile young men pining after your successes and life.
Just take a look at that smirk. This portrait was painted probably while Franklin thought about all the anecdotes he would be writing in his confusing autobiography. He probably is wondering if anyone is ever going to figure out that his autobiography is a jest aimed at eager-minded fatheads who are ready to do anything to preserve old-timey ideals of slave-holding bald men (although I’ll give credit where credit is due; Benny was an avid abolitionist, but still “owned” slaves).
Benjamin writes about all sorts of weirdo stuff, including his attempts at becoming perfect:
“It was about this time I conciev’d the bold and arduous Project of arriving at moral Perfection.”
And then his surprise when he realized that perfection is actually quite difficult to obtain:
“I was surpris’d to find myself so much fuller of Faults than I had imagined, but I has the Satisfaction of seeing them diminish.”
And finally, the simple observation that rich people are rich and poor people are poor:
“I experienc’d too the Truth and Observation, that after getting the first hundred pound, it is more easy to get the second: Money itself being of a prolific Nature.”
So, here we see Ben in full: the inventor of the Fire Department, public libraries, health care for poor people, outdoor lighting, taxation, the discoverer of electricity, and finally, the rounded old man who loved parties and ladies (esp. French ladies), and a man who did not particularly respect his marriage or wife.