Richard Nixon, Bowling Cheat

Megan McArdle related a funny Richard Nixon story last week, concerning his creation of a White House Place Guard. The palace guard episode is silly at any level and also reveals something of Nixon’s character. Let me start off your August weekend with a similar anecdote.

Bowling

If you tunnel deep down under The West Wing, you will find a maze of poorly lit, unpainted hallways with exposed pipes and wires (no OSHA rules apply underneath The White House, apparently). If you stumble about the labyrinth for awhile you will come to a nondescript door that, quite surprisingly, opens onto a two-lane bowling alley which was built for President Truman.

Here I am showing fantastic form therein. I bowled 300. It took me about 50 frames, but I did it. I can’t bowl at all really. But I am very good at looking like I know what I am doing when in fact I don’t — an essential Washington D.C. survival skill.

Anyhoo, almost every President since Truman has gone down at least once to the White House bowling alley and posed for a photo, bowling ball in hand. Most never return. But Richard Nixon actually liked to bowl and did so frequently. Study his left foot in the photo below and ask yourself: “Was there anything at which this guy wouldn’t cheat?”

BowlingNixon

[Cross-posted at The Reality-based Community]

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Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is a professor of psychiatry at Stanford University. He served as a senior policy advisor at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy from 2009 to 2010.