…On December 19, 1732, Benjamin Franklin published “Poor Richard’s Almanac” for the first time.
Ben would go on to publish the Almanac for 25 years, making him a rich man. And a popular one. He sold close to 10,000 copies each year.
When his brother, James, died in 1753, Franklin sent James’ widow 500 copies so she could sell them and make some money.
Franklin became the first international superstar. His fame would rival that of any rock star today. He was a required guest at any Parisian party when he lived in France. Women threw themselves at him, and he was easily tempted. He was honored by King Louis VI of France when His Majesty (as opposed to Jermagesty, Jermaine’s son) named the ship Bonhomme Richard after Franklin. Napoleon had the almanac translated into Italian along with the Pennsylvania State Constitution, which Franklin also helped to draft. The almanac was also translated into French, printed in London and distributed to poor parishioners by clergymen.
Many notables later on accused Franklin of making up his lightning discovery story and other events. Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville were extremely critical of Franklin and all but referred to him as a fraud.
I’ve read The House of Seven Gables and Moby Dick, I say to them, among other things, ‘physician heal thyself!’ Those books suck! I’m sure it was just sour grapes.
So, on this Saturday before Christmas, 277 years later, thanks Ben for Poor Richards, the pot bellied stove, bi-focal glasses, the lightning rod, your contribution to freedom, music, medicine, literature, science, recognizing and naming the Gulf Stream, your social contributions, your wit, your wisdom, and your history.
You were a rock star!