President Ronald Reagan is one of the most famous Americans of the 20th century. Between his acting career and his eight years as president, you would think that his face would be instantly recognizable to anyone with even a basic knowledge of recent American history.
You would think.
As it turns out, a lot of college students at the University of Maryland had absolutely no clue who Reagan was when they were shown a picture of America's 40th president.
A few historically-literate students recognized Reagan right away. But, the majority of those I showed the picture to were completely flummoxed or provided me with wild guesses. Some of those guesses included: John Wayne, Kenny Rogers, George Bush and some guy named Fred Moore. (I have no idea who Fred Moore is, but he sounds like a pretty cool dude.)
Some got close - including one young lady who asked if he was "...some kind of president."
At a certain point, I decided that informing the students that they were totally ignorant of recent American history would just be too embarrassing. So, when they gave me a wrong answer, I just told them they were right and let them go about their day, having no idea that they know less about American history than a 4th grader who sits in the back of the classroom and eats paste.
Because I'm a nice guy and didn't want to ruin their day at Maryland's premiere institute of higher learning.