There’s an interesting practice known as baptism by proxy, in which the Church of Latter-Day Saints claims historical figures for the Mormon faith by baptizing living stand-ins. I find this impulse perfectly understandable, albeit morbid and somewhat disrespectful. We all want to believe that the people we admire are sorta, kinda, just like us—and if they’re already dead, who’s to stop us from claiming them for ourselves?
In honor of Presidents Day, I thought I’d perform a little biopsy by proxy, a related practice popular among certain sects of Latter-Day Celiacs. Check it out:
[John F.] Kennedy’s Irish heritage, long duration of gastrointestinal complaints (since childhood), diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome and migraine, presence of severe osteoporosis, and the development of Addison’s disease all lead to a presumptive diagnosis of celiac disease. (Peter H. R. Green, MD)
Although it’s hard to believe that such a prominent figure could’ve managed to go undiagnosed, Dr. Green suggests that steroids might have suppressed Kennedy’s intestinal inflammation and contributed to a misdiagnosis. Good enough for me, Pete! It’s official, JFK was one of us. If he were alive today, I’m sure he’d be right there with his fellow Bostonians trying out the new GF muffins at Dunkin Donuts. It’s humbling, honestly—sure, it took a billion years for the doctors to figure me out, but they never got it right for him, and he was the president of the United States.
Okay, so, that article was news to me, but it’s a few years old, so maybe it wasn’t new to you. To add some real value to this post, I’ve taken the liberty of bringing a few other heads of our state into the celiac fold. As it turns out, the Oval Office attracts a gluten-fearing bunch. Here’s some presidential advice and support for you:
|“Nothing short of gluten-independence, it appears to me, can possibly do. A peace on other terms would, if I may be allowed the expression, be a peace of war.”—George Washington|
|“Baking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies.”—Thomas Jefferson|
|“If we falter and destroy ourselves, it will be because we lost our gluten-freedoms.”—Abraham Lincoln|
|“The world must be made safe for the gluten-free.”—Woodrow Wilson|
|“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Wait, and gluten. That stuff is in everything.”—Franklin D. Roosevelt|
|“History does not long entrust the care of gluten-freedom to the weak or the timid.”—Dwight D. Eisenhower|
|“Gluten is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hit man.”—Ronald Reagan|
|“I misunderestimated gluten.”—George W. Bush|
|“Why can’t I just eat my waffle?”—Barack Obama(By the way, Mr. President, if you make it with Udi’s, then yes. you. can.)|
|This one’s too easy. Bill Clinton actually does avoid gluten. For real.|
Happy President’s Day. Enjoy your day off, and maybe a nice slice of coconut-flour cake in honor of Washington’s birthday. What do you think—is Dr. Green’s case convincing? And which will come first, a female president or a celiac-diagnosed president?