James McNeill Whistler, the famous artist, first thought of becoming a cavalryman, and went to West Point to do his officer training.
He was a terrible horseman and could not stay on his horse; he was often seen hanging from the beast’s neck on many occasions.
One day, after a bad fall that left him lying on the ground remaining still looking skywards, several soldiers gathered round, and his commanding officer asked, “Are you hurt, Mr Whistler?”
Whistler replied, “No, I am just trying to think why anyone should buy a horse for his own amusement.”
He failed West Point. On a chemistry exam he erred by saying that Silicon was a gas. In later life, when talking to the famous Major Reno who had just fought with General Custer in the 7th Cavalry, he said, “Do you know, if Silicon had been a gas I could have become a General.”
Reno replied, “In which case no one would have ever heard of your mother.”