The 4 Most Potentially Badass Fathers Who Never Had Kids
I'm really stoked because, 20-some-odd years ago, my Dad decided there wasn't enough O'Brien Juice floating around America, so he and Momma O'Brien got together and made me. Unfortunately, not everyone is as awesome as my Dad when it comes to keeping the bloodline going, and those who do decide to reproduce aren't always the ones you'd prefer. In movies like Idiocracy (and life, I guess), you always hear about idiots throughout history who keep making more and more idiot children. Monsters who just want to raise more little monsters, until they have a monster majority -- while brilliant, thoughtful people are usually so preoccupied with how thoughtful they are that they forget to procreate.
Pointing out the people who shouldn't have had kids (Hitler's Dad, his Mom and so forth), is easy and boring. So, in honor of Father's Day, I've rounded up a bunch of awesome and badass historical figures who absolutely should have filled this planet with their offspring.
Happy Father's Day!
There's a lot to admire about our first and, some would argue, best president, George Washington. The only official United States president to be able to claim that he was way into presidenting back "before it was cool," Washington is widely known as the "Father of our Country," but not, regrettably, the "Father of Anything Else."
Washington remains the only president to receive 100 percent of the electoral votes. He was a farmer who became a soldier when his country needed him and, after he made the British look like a bunch of assholes in the Revolutionary War, he returned to his farm instead of taking advantage the massive political power inherent to commanding the winning army. He only accepted the presidency when it was made clear that his country needed him, and he made sure he stayed humble and condemned anything resembling "royal treatment," because he knew he was setting a president precedent, and he wanted all future presidents to stay grounded and be men of the people. He showed insane levels of badass bravery on the battlefield and a measured thoughtfulness as president, making himself the model that every subsequent president would strive to live up to (they all failed).
Congressman Henry Lee celebrated Washington at his funeral saying, "First in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen, he was second to none in humble and enduring scenes of private life. Pious, just, humane, temperate and sincere; uniform, dignified and commanding; his example was as edifying to all around him as were the effects of that example lasting ..." If there is anyone in history who would have a right to examine his surroundings and claim, "You know, this world would be better if there were a bunch of Little Me's running around it," it would be George Washington.
Unfortunately, "Ole' Town-Destroyer" was so busy basting America's fertile grounds with his strong-jawed president-juice that he never got around to shooting any into his wife in any kind of meaningful way. It's possible that Washington was sterile, or even that his wife Martha simply lacked the structural stability required to support the enormous balls of a baby Washington for nine months, but we'll never really know the truth. All we know is that our noble Soldier President was the last of his bloodline -- there are no more Washington's. It would have been nice to stock the White House with Washington Jr. after Washington Jr. from now until the end of time, but maybe it's better this way. Not every sequel lives up to the original.
I've written about my love of Nikola Tesla, "the father of radio, television, power transmission, the induction motor and the robot," before and Cracked has covered him elsewhere as well. For those who haven't read everything that's ever been published on this site (why?), suffice it to say that Tesla was a brilliant and passionate inventor who was screwed out of money, fame and respect by well-known supervillain Thomas Edison. Tesla was fluent in eight languages, a progressive supporter of gender equality and, according to a friend, "also a poet, a philosopher, an appreciator of fine music, a linguist and a connoisseur of food and drink." All in all, a fairly well-rounded guy (who also might have been crazy).
He died alone, in debt and, thanks to Edison, without any of the credit that he deserved. He was survived by no sons or daughters, apparently because he must not have thought he was worthy of any. Tesla sincerely (and controversially) believed that only the strongest and brightest should breed, that we should embrace eugenics and weed the "unfit" out of society, saying, "Certainly no one who is not a desirable parent should be permitted to produce progeny." Tesla, unfortunately, simply didn't consider himself to be a desirable parent. His image of himself was so low, that he used himself as an example as someone who should not be contributing to a future race of supermen. Which sucked. Maybe if he'd had a kid, he'd realize he wasn't so shitty. Or, he could hand his knowledge down to his offspring, and that kid would fight to make sure the Tesla name received the respect and money that it deserved. Or, hell, even if the kid didn't end up in science, he would at the very least grow up to beat the crap out of Edison's shitty kids.
Also? At the time of his death, he was working on a fucking death ray. If he had passed on his brilliant mind to a son or daughter, and they used it to complete his work and research, can you imagine what would happen?
Loads of death, probably, sure, yeah, but HOLY-SHIT-A-DEATH-RAY!
Related: Donate to Charity, Win a Tesla
You've never heard of Quentin, but you have heard of Roosevelt, which explains why your eyes have boners just from reading the title of this entry. We've never published a single story about former president Theodore Roosevelt that wasn't just bursting with unquestionable manliness, because that guy is just the embodiment of ass-kickery. To celebrate Father's Day, Theodore Roosevelt would go to an outdoor boxing ring because his biological parents were mountains and a fist. I went to a doctor about a troubling lump I'd found, but it turned out that I'd grown an extra testicle simply by writing about Theodore Roosevelt. When told that he could no longer be president, Roosevelt got sad and that's why it still sometimes rains today. His dick is, like, the best.
But who was Quentin Roosevelt, and why should he have been a father? Let's dig into this. Theodore Roosevelt had four sons (Theodore Jr., Kermit, Archie and Quentin), and every single one of them was badass on a level that most historians refer to as "Rooseveltian." Theodore Jr. is a Medal-of-Honor-winning soldier and politician who served in both world wars. He received his first rifle when he was nine, studied at Harvard, was Governor of Puerto Rico and served his country in many battles. A general of his in WWII described him as someone with "a complete contempt for personal danger," and his Medal of Honor citation reads "His valor, courage and presence in the very front of the attack and his complete unconcern at being under heavy fire inspired the troops to heights of enthusiasm and self-sacrifice." His brother, Kermit, also served in both world wars, and when he was out of wars to fight, he would travel through "uncharted Himalayan mountain passes" hunting legendarily gigantic sheep monsters because they were difficult to get, and made for the best trophies, and then he published a series of books, mostly about what a straight up G he was. Tragically, he eventually committed suicide (because a Roosevelt is one of the only documented things that can actually stop a Roosevelt), but not before leaving a trail of badass accomplishments in his wake. Archie Roosevelt also served in both world wars, and received injuries to the exact same knee in both (via grenade in WWII), making him "the only American to ever be classified as 100 percent disabled twice for the same wound incurred in two different wars." And even though he was disabled (twice), he still managed to return to battle after a too-brief recovery. His tombstone reads "The old fighting man, home from the wars." Finally, we come to Quentin, Theodore's favorite son and considered by many to be a better version of Theodore Roosevelt than Theodore Roosevelt was, possessing "his father's positive qualities and few of the negative ones." Quentin was one of the most daring pilots in World War I, described here by his Captain: "He was reckless to such a degree that his commanding officers had to caution him repeatedly about the senselessness of his lack of caution. His bravery was so notorious that we all knew he would either achieve some great spectacular success or be killed in the attempt. Even the pilots in his own flight would beg him to conserve himself and wait for a fair opportunity for a victory. But Quentin would merely laugh away all serious advice." Captain Rickenbacker was right, as Quentin was killed in action in World War I.
Why did I tell you all of those awesome Roosevelt stories? Was it to make you feel even more inferior as a person? Yeah, kind of. But also I wanted to point out that Teddy Jr. had a few badass kids his self (who in turn had their own badass kids -- I think we're at Teddy Roosevelt V now). Archie and Kermit, too, shot out some Roosevelts that all followed in the giant Roosevelt footsteps of speaking softly and carrying a giant don't-you-dare-fuck-with-me everywhere they went. The only Roosevelt who didn't continue the family line was, unfortunately, Teddy Sr.'s favorite, Quentin. Now, I'm not in favor of forcing people to breed in order to create a race of super soldiers, but if we hope to stand a chance in battle when the aliens eventually come to claim our planet, we are going to need a hell of a lot more Roosevelts. All of Teddy's boys turned into fathers except one, and it happened to be the closest thing we had to a super Roosevelt? If Quentin was a good version of Teddy without any of Teddy's bad qualities, it follows that his kid would have been an improved version of Quentin, and so on and so on, until they crack the Roosevelt formula and distill it down to its perfect essence. I don't want to rely on wild speculation for this piece, but if Quentin kept the Roosevelt line going, one of his kids would eventually become president, and then we would never need any more presidents. We were so close to perfection. This is why I hate World War I so much.
Jesus Hootie Christ
I know. It's the Internet, and I brought up Jesus, so you're mad at me. I'm mad at me. Even that picture of Jesus up there looks mad at me. But I swear I'm not trying to court controversy here. This won't really be about Jesus, because it's not my place to come down on one side or the other and say, "Jesus was the son of God" or "Jesus was just a kind, knowledgeable prophet with a bunch of good ideas." I don't write for a site that makes bold and relevant theological claims; I write for a site that lets me pretend the "H" in Jesus' middle name stands for "Hootie." I'm only saying that -- son of God or no son of God -- it would have been neat if Jesus had a kid, because one of two things would have happened:
Thing #1: Religious Clarity
You know how people misquote and misrepresent the Bible all the time? I'm sure you do. You can find more than one book that exists only to point out frequently misrepresented Bible quotes, plus books that debunk those other books. Interpreting the Bible has yielded in two thriving, competing businesses. That's how prevalent it is.
Still, Jesus, divine or not, seemed to know what was right and what was wrong. He wasn't an asshole, generally speaking. If I was Jesus, and I'm old and humble enough to know now that I'm (probably) not, I'd like to think that I would be considerate enough to make just a ton of kids. I'd have kids, and I'd teach them everything I knew and I'd instruct them to have their own kids to keep the family knowledge alive forever. It would be the surest way to keep my message intact. Imagine how amazing it would be if politicians and radio commentators and talk show hosts and comedians wouldn't be able to come out and say, "Jesus meant [this]" or "Jesus meant [that]," because we'd have a legitimate source who could say, "Uh, my Dad was Jesus, and that's totally not what he meant." It may not tell us if Jesus was divine, or if Jesus was even right, but at least it would give us some freaking accuracy. It would invalidate anyone who was trying to manipulate the Bible to fit their own agenda.
Thing #2: The Bible Would Have a Really Badass Part 3
Let's say Jesus was a good guy who preached kindness and loving your neighbor and all that good stuff. And let's say he had a kid. And then let's say a bunch of people arrested Jesus and publicly crucified him. That is going to yield one seriously pissed off kid, and that is awesome to me. Because if the kid didn't decide to keep the message of kindness alive (like I mentioned in "Thing #1"), then the only alternative is that he'd spend his entire life avenging his father's death, and holy shit how much cooler would the Bible be if it had a whole extra book that was all about Lil' Hootie Jr. running around and beating the crap out of the people who murdered his father? So much cooler. You'd go to church and some days you'd hear about the Ten Commandments or the Prodigal Son or fish and bread, and some days you'd hear about the time Christ's kid straight wasted a bunch of suckers to avenge his father's death.
It's a win-win situation, because on one hand, you'd have a kid who would continue in his father's footsteps to ensure total clarity of purpose -- and on the other, you'd have a kid who dedicated his entire life to hurting the people who murdered his dad, which, yes, is exactly like an epically Biblical Batman story. I crunched the numbers on this, and the only thing better than Billionaire Batman is Jesus Batman.
You just can't beat it.
Daniel O'Brien is Cracked.com's Senior Writer (ladies), and is very punctual and respectful (dads of ladies).
For more folks we hope procreated, check out 6 Soldiers Who Survived Shit That Would Kill a Terminator and 11 Celebrities Who Were Secretly Total Badasses.