When my youngest brother Sam was only about two or three, he was obsessed with Benjamin Franklin. He got a green plastic bowler hat on St. Patrick's Day and immediately called it a "Ben Franklin Hat" (because in his mind, Ben Franklin wore hats like that...?). For about a year, little Sam was rarely seen without his distinguished Hat.
I thought the hat thing was cute but didn't get the Ben Franklin obsession really. I mean, yeah I guess he was clever to put a key on a kite, and sure, he signed a bunch of important documents, but didn't everyone? :)
Last year I started thinking he might be cool, just because the actor Tom Wilkinson made him seem so interesting in the John Adams miniseries. I was convinced to give the guy a chance, and a couple days ago I picked up his autobiography (it's in the public domain, so read away).
So it's only now that I've discovered that my little brother was way ahead of me on this one: the dude was brilliant and inspiring. Completely deserving of hero-worship. Where can I get a green plastic hat?