In a March 1963 appearance on the The Tonight Show, Richard Nixon played a piano piece of his own composition. As a child he’d pursued the instrument intensively, moving 100 miles from home at age 12 to stay with his aunt Jane Beeson, who’d studied at the Indianapolis Conservatory of Music. She taught him every day. (I think his reference here to “another piano player in the White House” is a dig at Harry Truman.)
In their 1991 book From the President’s Pen, Larry F. Vrzalik and Michael Minor list a few more Nixon curiosities:
One interesting characteristic of Nixon is that all his life he has had a difficult time coordinating his body. Although he played college football for four years, he warmed the bench because he had ‘two left feet.’ One teammate recalled that anytime Nixon was put in a game ‘we knew a five-yard penalty was coming up’ because in his eagerness Nixon would invariably rush ahead before the play started. In later years Nixon’s habit of clumsily banging into car doors led to a serious knee injury that slowed down his campaigning in 1960, and as president his coordination problems surprised and shocked observers. He was patently incapable of getting the tops off either pill bottles or ceremonial pens and would often resort to trying to bite and gnaw them off. On one occasion, after unsuccessfully attempting to bite off the top of a pill bottle, he finally resorted to stomping on it. At one press conference he raised his hands with the classic gesture for those in the room to stand, but told them ‘would you please be seated.’ On still another and even more embarrassing occasion, while deliver a major speech he pointed to the audience and said ‘I,’ then pointed to himself and said ‘you.’ Nixon was often so physically tense that if anyone happened to touch him on the arm he would jump as if he had been struck by a heavy blow.