#2. Justice Clarence Thomas: Priest
Since 1991, Clarence Thomas has been one of the more prominent and most controversial members of the Supreme Court. He's the most consistently conservative member of the court and doesn't shy away from being the only dissenting voice during high-profile cases. He's also famous for being silent during interrogations: He just sits there and stares into your soul.
"Last summer? I know what you did every summer."
However, if not for a stray comment, he would never have ended up on the Supreme Court. Thomas didn't plan on becoming a judge, or even a lawyer, for that matter -- from a young age, he really wanted to become a priest. As a young man, Thomas entered St. John Vianney's Minor Seminary in Savannah, becoming the first black student in the school's history. In fact, he was doing so well, he was sent off to a finishing seminary in Missouri and continued to rise fast.
It was the first step in his goal to never wear pants again.
But then, in 1968, one dickbag changed the entire course of his life. Two dickbags, actually: The one who shot Martin Luther King Jr., and the seminary classmate who reacted to the news by saying he hoped the son of a bitch died (another source gives a slightly more racist and genocidal phrasing). Thomas was already becoming disenchanted with the Catholic church because he believed they weren't doing enough to fight racism and he himself felt discriminated against, but that was the last straw: If that dickbag was supposed to be a man of God, Thomas didn't want to be one, too. And so he became a lawyer instead.
"You know what, just sign me up for anything involving robes."
So instead of preaching love and forgiveness, Thomas became one of the harshest, most uncompromising judges out there today, thanks to one racist loudmouth.
#1. Ted Turner: Competitive Sailor
It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that Ted Turner changed the way we watch television: He created the first cable superstation, the first 24-hour news network (CNN) and the first 24-hour animation network (Cartoon Network). Before that, if you got bored at 3 a.m., your only option was staring at TV static and hoping you got sucked into it, like in Poltergeist. Turner is one of the most influential entrepreneurs of the past 50 years or more ... and he only went into business because his dad forced him to. He wanted to be a sailor.
And not even the badass kind.
As a teen, Turner got really into the sport of competitive sailing and turned out to be very good at it. Turner decided he wanted to do this for a living and was talented enough to make that a reality. The problem was, his father had other plans. Ed Turner was the owner of a small billboard advertising business and was determined to get his son into the family business, whether he liked it or not. After graduating high school, Ted wanted to go into the U.S. Naval Academy, but his dad forbid him and sent him to Brown University. Once there, Ted decided to major in classics, but once again his father said "Haha, no" and forced him to change to economics.
Ted figured "Fine, whatever, I'll just sail during the summer" -- he was offered a job at a yacht club and all, which would have allowed him to race at no expense to his father. It was perfect. His dad didn't give a shit and made him turn down the job so he could work as an account executive at his company.
"I'm doing all this for your own good. Also, because I hate you."
Ted rebelled and got himself kicked out of Princeton, but he still had to work for his dad. Ed Turner wasn't exactly a well balanced individual, as you may have picked up on: In 1963, between heated arguments with his son, he sold the failing company and killed himself. However, as if to defy his father one last time, 24-year-old Ted Turner managed to reverse the company's sale and not only put himself in charge of it, but turned it around and expanded it into a broadcasting giant.
And then, to top it all off, Turner did become a professional sailor in his spare time from being a multimillionaire, winning the America's Cup competition in 1977. The man could have comfortably made a living off the sport alone if his father hadn't been so stubborn/insane, and our TV-watching lives would be poorer for it.
Thanks for being a dick, Ed.