This is a short and frivolous story—a real story not fiction—with valuable lessons. However, who isn’t going to take a look at a book titled Shot in the Butt? Especially when it involves a celebrity butt. Now, this tale is not about a cover-up worthy of a congressional hearing. This story has been hiding in plain sight for over 200 years in original journals written by the victim himself. Admittedly, it exploits a delicate story for sheer fun—though it also holds a valuable message for history writers both new and experienced.
The good news is, I saved the lessons for last. So, if you like, you can stop reading before the lecture begins—I’ll even tell you when that time has come. Until then, enjoy some irreverent fun.
This would have been the headline in the Wilderness Gazette if the newspaper really existed in 1806, selling out on muddy streets across the country. Telegraph wires would have been singing—if telegraphy had been invented by then. Unfortunately, that technology would be decades away, but let’s not let that get in the way of a good story.
Why was it that our grade school teachers never taught us this irreverent piece of Americana? We might have paid more attention during history classes had we been allowed to snicker while the teacher read us this tale, bloody details and all. And sadly, I suppose a historical re-enactment was really out of the question.