#3. Tony Iommi Mutilated His Fingers, Invented Heavy Metal
You might not immediately realize it, but the John Oates prototype you see in the above photo invented the sound we've all come to know as heavy metal. His name is Tony Iommi and he's the guitarist and only consistent member of rock visionaries Black Sabbath.
His groundbreaking guitar techniques and tritone riffs are widely credited for launching an entire genre, while his mustache/perm combo is credited for creating the classic '70s porn star look . But it wasn't the hair or killer mustache that compelled Tony Iommi to rock as hard as he does. It was his grotesquely mutilated fingers.
There are only two careers you can have with that facial hair, and the world already had a Ron Jeremy.
While working in a Birmingham factory as a teen, silly Tony managed to get his hand caught in the machinery, an accident that severed the tips of the middle and ring fingers of his right hand. No worries. Instead of hanging up his dreams of rock glory, Tony Iommi just invented a completely new way of playing guitar to better accommodate his destroyed digits. He incorporated tweaks like using lighter banjo strings and tuning his guitar down three semi-tones, which is technical-speak for making your guitar sound like the breath of the devil.
He's only looking upward because Satan is requesting "Stairway to Heaven." The guy's a dick.
Because the setup he landed on proved to be a comfortable one, he stuck with it. As luck would have it, the alterations had a vast effect on his guitar sound, creating a deep, booming sound that was hitherto unheard of. Iommi liked the sound and adopted it as his own. This forced Geezer Butler, the Sabbath bassist, to downtune his bass to match the strange new noise Iommi was blasting at him.
Also he removed a hand to one-up Iommi, but no one noticed because he's a bass player.
As a result, the whole Sabbath sound, while essentially blues rock at heart, became heavier and more ominous than anything else around. Add some dark lyrical themes and catchy tunes and lo and behold, heavy metal was born, due to an industrial accident. Just like Satan intended.
#2. Winston Churchill's Stuttering Made Him a Great Speaker
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill was the fancily named prime minister who led Great Britain through World War II with his inspired leadership, giant cigars and handsome, masculine jowls. He is widely considered to be one of the most eloquent and quotable speakers in history. For that last part, you should consider showing some damn respect.
It's a fact now mostly lost to history that, while navigating his way through complex and emotional moments like the famous "Iron Curtain Speech" (not to mention ensuring that Adolf Hitler didn't goose step England into anti-Semite rubble), Winston Churchill was quietly struggling with a severe stuttering problem. It borders on unbelievable that a man with one of the most impressive resumes of epic speeches and massively quotable offhand quips and remarks of all time did it all while teetering on the brink of incoherent stuttering. It's even weirder that it was because of said stuttering.
Winston "Sometimes I Wasn't Drunk" Churchill.
See, in order to overcome his speech impediment, Churchill made sure everything he said was planned and written in advance. Everything. Not just speeches, but all of those little quotes and jokes and quips and comebacks were all in his head well before he ever said them. Because he didn't want to have to think too hard about things and, in turn, stutter like a buffoon (no offense, stutterers of the world!), Churchill would study any issue about which he may have been called upon to speak and determine what objections people might bring up before even stating his case. If you planned to call Winston Churchill fat, he probably knew to bring up your mom's drinking problem in response to shut you up.
His trigger finger stuttered, too. Forty men died.
And guess what? A funny thing happens when you spend so much time studying up on the various intricacies and angles of doing your job and how the world works in general ... you end up doing your job extremely well. All of that intense studying of not only his viewpoints on the ridiculously pressing issues of the day but also the viewpoints of those who would dare to disagree made Churchill far and away one of the most knowledgeable and effective leaders of his or any other time. Just ask anyone in England who isn't a Nazi right now, they'll surely agree. People appreciated Winston Churchill's unwavering dedication to not sounding like a jackass in public.
"When in doubt, wave your fingers at people."
#1. Teddy Roosevelt Overcame Every Ailment He Had to Become Unspeakably Awesome
"How do you go mermaid hunting?"
We have discussed him before, and if it isn't apparent yet, we kind of hold the man in pretty high regard. So, if we like him, you know he must have been pretty incredible. But you have no idea how incredible this man was until you take into account all of the various ailments and afflictions that he had to overcome in his life. From life-threatening asthma to constant bouts of illness to nearly nonexistent eyesight, Roosevelt was such a weak and sickly child that he wasn't realistically expected to survive into adulthood.
His father, however, had other ideas. Knowing that young Theodore was a goddamn Roosevelt and therefore roughly 10 times more manly from the get-go than mere mortals, he introduced the child to the traditional family way of dealing with shit, and its basic tenet was simple: If life gives you lemons ...
... punch it in the dick until it doesn't.
Young Teddy took his father's advice to "make his own body" to heart and decided that he had indeed had enough of sickness' shit. He went from a faint lily-of-the-valley to a vigorous athlete and outdoors advocate overnight, climbing mountains with lungs that the doctors had warned could collapse from climbing the stairs.
Roosevelt gave his new life ethic the name of The Strenuous Life, a concept he would later take every opportunity to preach to the American public, and it basically amounted to taking up every physical activity a person could imagine all at once. This was a man who spent much of his childhood confined to a bed, and he was determined to make up for lost time. This resulted in his evolving from a shell of a man into something that looks like it should have been in an X-Men comic ...
"Adamantium isn't nearly as hard as Rooseveltium."
... until he took his final form as the man you know: A war hero, the youngest president to ever hold the office and the hardest motherfucker to ever walk the Earth.
His constant cockfight against the weaknesses mere genetics dealt him lasted throughout his life, and is therefore directly responsible for exactly 100 percent of everything badass he ever did. Really, the only one of his ailments that never really affected him positively was his legendarily poor eyesight ...
"I fixed our badger problem."
Unless of course you count the time when it totally saved his life from an assassination attempt, because the bullet was slowed down by both the large-fonted and therefore insanely thick speech in his breast pocket ... and his spectacles case.
Naturally, T.R. kept the bullet as a souvenir. Inside his body.