Nixon, Cleveland, Grant and Lincoln. (Alex Fine/For Express) Nixon, Cleveland, Grant and Lincoln. (Alex Fine/For Express)

Being President of the United States is a tough job — tough enough to drive a man to drink, or pop pills, or have an epic number of affairs. That’s the thesis of “Party Like a President: True Tales of Inebriation, Lechery, and Mischief from the Oval Office.”

“I started out wanting to aggregate the stupidity of presidents, but ended up having sympathy for them,” says author Brian Abrams, who’s speaking at a Politics and Prose-hosted event at Busboys and Poets’ Brookland location on Tuesday.

Even the mild-mannered presidents picked up vices, Abrams found. While in college, Benjamin Harrison ate cucumbers despite dire warnings from his family to avoid the “forbidden” food. Teetotaler Zachary Taylor died in office after contracting a stomach bug, perhaps owing to the “pernicious” produce, according to a senator at the time.

“It was probably dirty water that did him in, but — who knows — ­maybe cucumbers are dangerous,” Abrams says. “Someone tell Michelle Obama.”

Other presidents kicked back in more conventional, less deadly ways. Test your knowledge of their less-distinguished moments.

Busboys and Poets, 625 Monroe St. NE; Tue., 6:30 p.m., free.

Can’t see the quiz? Click here.


Which one of the following statements is false?

At a Christmas party in 1974, Gerald Ford accidentally rested his feet on a two-pound wheel of Brie
In his last days in office, Andrew Jackson had a 1,400-pound cheese wheel put in the White House entrance hall
A Massachusetts congregation gave Thomas Jefferson a 1,230-pound wheel of cheese
First daughter Malia Obama caught flack last year when she refused to pet a 49-pound turkey named “Cheddar"


Who would win a drinking contest?

Richard Nixon, who reportedly took his scotch with sedatives
Grover Cleveland, who spent many a night in Buffalo, N.Y., bars, drinking stein after stein of lager
Ulysses S. Grant, a drinker who, at one point, upchucked on his horse when reviewing Civil War soldiers
Abraham Lincoln, who once lifted a 40-gallon barrel of whiskey and drank directly from it to settle a bet


Which president had the best parties?

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who threw a toga party at the White House where he wore a Caesar-style crown
Jimmy Carter. Willie Nelson says he smoked pot on the White House roof after a Carter soiree
Dwight Eisenhower. He and Mamie spent their evenings watching “I Love Lucy,” while eating TV dinners
John F. Kennedy. The fun really got started when the first lady wasn’t around

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A prior version of this story listed an incorrect location for the event.