George B. Brooks of Southeast Washington has never actually met a president, and that's a pity, because there isn't one he doesn't like to know about.
And we mean all 41 of them. He can call up their birth dates, tell where they were born and when they took office, name their first ladies and vice presidents, recite happenstance after circumstance about their lives. One thing just leads to another. For instance:
"George Washington and George Bush were the only Georges to be president of the United States. Here's the interesting part about these two guys. George Washington married his wife, Martha, on January 6, 1759, and George Bush married his wife, Barbara, January 6, 1945."
His mind is like a computer: Ask a question, get a short course.
In fact it was a question -- "The $64,000 Question" -- that got the 67-year-old Brooks into this in the 1950s. He wanted to be on the TV game show, and since contestants were allowed to choose their own categories, he just picked presidents and started to learn.
"They never called me, but I continued to do research and study," he says. The rest is history.
Born in Saluda, S.C., Brooks moved with his family to Washington when he was 4 years old. Although his formal education ended after the eighth grade, he eventually carved out a career as a nurse's assistant at Freedmen's Hospital -- now Howard University Hospital -- before retiring in 1979 after 32 years. He has just stopped working part time as a security guard, which leaves him plenty of time to visit schools and make television appearances as an expert on the presidents, dispensing little-known facts about the men who have led the country.
"Although former president Nixon was the only president who resigned from office, he is the only president who was elected twice as vice president and elected twice as president."
Let that be a lesson to you.