The most amazing thing about history is how ridiculously close things came to turning out differently. An inch here, a second there... that's the only difference between the world we live in now and an alternate universe where it's all Nazis and dinosaurs.
For instance, there are some great men who we take for granted, not realizing how close they came to getting snuffed out like Tupac, forever changing history as we know it.
It should go without saying that pregnant women should stay clear of bolts of lightning. This is especially true when they are pregnant with the guy who is destined to invent the United States of America and get his face on the one dollar bill.
Came Within Inches of Death When:
Mary Ball Washington, mother of the future father of the USA, was enjoying a dinner party and sitting next to the fireplace. Suddenly, a bolt of lightning exploded down the chimney, zapping a girl sitting right next to her with enough gigawatts to fuse her fork and knife together and kill her to death.
Accidentally creating the useless knife-fork combination.
Mary got badly jolted, but not enough to scramble the infant Founding Father currently floating around in her belly. The party was understandably ruined.
Predictably, Washington was later attacked by the T-1000 on his 12th birthday.
If she'd been sitting a little closer, if her chair had been a little better at conducting electricity, if any one of a million variables played out the other way... no USA.
We don't think we're exaggerating, either. An American Revolution without George Washington--and an early America without him as president-- would have made this whole operation infinitely more difficult. Especially considering historian David McCullough described the Revolution as a near-failure on its own, and Washington biographer Thomas Fleming mused than an American Revolution commanded by Major General Horatio Gates instead of Washington would have "ended in a whimper."
Also, if we simply remove George Washington from the Revolution, his role would most likely have been filled by a seven-star General of the Armies of the United States named... Benedict Arnold. You know, the guy who, halfway through the war, changed his mind and joined the British.