Playground Bragging Rights


What sorts of things do little kids brag about on the elementary school playground?

“I can jump off of this swing!”

“If I race you to that pole, I bet I’ll win!”

“My Mom gave me stickers!”

“I have Lunchables in my lunchbox today!” (Those were so cool in my elementary years).

But me? Well…

“I’m Abraham Lincoln’s 8th cousin!”

Yeah, that was different. And also a bit over-specific. But it’s true. I am. I actually am Abraham Lincoln’s 8th cousin.

This was a point of pride among the Fosters. It came mostly from my Grandfather Jim Foster, who was Abe’s 6th cousin (Ooh! Even closer!) Papaw Jim was an orphan (there’s a very sad story there) and I think this knowledge served as a source of satisfaction that he came from someone as great as a President. I actually had no idea about my ethnicity or family tree until I did 23andMe this year. If any of my relatives knew about these, they never shared them with me. But Abe? Oh yeah, we’ve got that one, single family tree branch that goes straight to him. I also trust that it’s legit.

So standing on the playground in 1st grade, I thought I would assert my special belonging as well.

“I’m Abraham Lincoln’s 8th cousin.”

But no one would let me inhabit this truth about myself or let me have this satisfaction. Oh, 1st graders and their pre-operational thinking! (See Piaget) They could only say the exact same sentence to me over and over. And they believed what they were saying!

“Nuh uh, cause you’d be dead.”

But you all… I’m right here.

I just kept thinking, “I don’t think you all know how cousins or time work.” I didn’t say this, of course. I was just a little sad that they didn’t believe me. And that I didn’t get my own, specific-to-me bragging rights.

Well, earlier this week, the gloatiest President of all time tweeted (because, of course he did…) that his approval ratings among Republicans are higher than any President in history, including “honest Abe.” Of course, there were no approval polls during the lifetime of Abraham Lincoln.

But most of all, I’m pleased to tell you that when an informal Jimmy Kimmel poll asked people, “Who’s the better President? Lincoln or Trump?” our playground Bragger in Chief was trounced. And by whom?



With fervent bragging,
Renee Roederer


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